MIL-OSI New Zealand: Rural News – Federated Farmers cautiously optimistic about rural banking inquiry

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Source: Federated Farmers

Federated Farmers are cautiously welcoming the Government’s announcement of an independent inquiry into rural banking, but questions remain about just how ‘rural’ it will be.
“The announcement of an independent inquiry is a great first step towards a fairer banking system for farming families,” says Federated Farmers spokesperson Richard McIntyre.
“But it’s important to remember that it’s only the first step. There’s still a lot of hard work that needs to be done to ensure the inquiry results in real change for farmers.”
McIntyre says the terms of reference, and who ends up sitting around the table, will be what makes or breaks this inquiry.
“The Government need to make sure this inquiry is set up to succeed from day one, because farmers can’t afford for them to get it wrong,” McIntyre says.
“It’s absolutely critical that MPs are able to look under the right stones, speak to the right people, and ask the right questions that will allow them to get to the bottom of things.
“That means looking at more than just the level of competition in our rural banking, but also things like how Reserve Bank rules and regulations affect farm lending.”
Federated Farmers are also concerned that the issues farmers are facing might just get buried under a pile of problems with mortgages and personal banking.
“There is a very real risk here that rural issues end up playing second fiddle to wider concerns about general banking,” McIntyre says.
“That would be a total disaster for Kiwi farmers, who have been asking some very fair questions for a long time now and deserve some answers.”
Federated Farmers are seeking assurances from the Government that rural issues will be given sufficient scrutiny and prominence during the banking inquiry process.
“We also want to ensure real gumboot-wearing MPs, who understand these issues at a deep level, have the opportunity to question the banks,” McIntyre says.
“Farmers have been very well served by the MPs on Parliament’s primary production select committee, who initiated a briefing into rural banking at Federated Farmers’ request.
“It’s important the likes of Mark Cameron, Jo Luxton, Suze Redmayne, Catherine Wedd and Miles Anderson are able to continue to make a contribution as the inquiry progresses.”
Federated Farmers look forward to the independent inquiry getting underway.
“Daylight is always the best disinfectant and I think rural banking issues are about to see their fair share of light,” McIntyre says. 

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