Meat & Livestock News

Government Awaits Request for Rural Banking Inquiry

The business people working together at table. The meeting or summit concept

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor recently stated that the government refrained from initiating an inquiry into rural banking due to the absence of a formal request from the sector.

Addressing the Rural Issues Debate in Hamilton, O’Connor expressed his support for Federated Farmers’ proposition that the succeeding government should commission an independent investigation into rural banking.

However, he also pointed out that the Federated Farmers had not previously confronted the banks on this issue.

O’Connor further elaborated on the hesitancy within the farming community to challenge banks, attributing it to their reliance on bank mortgages. He mentioned the potential repercussions farmers might face, describing banks as potentially “vindictive and vicious.”

Earlier in June, the government announced the Commerce Commission’s decision to examine competition within the personal banking services sector. Finance Minister Grant Robertson had expressed concerns over the record-high profits of banks, questioning if the industry was genuinely serving New Zealanders’ interests.

O’Connor indicated that the government would have extended the inquiry to encompass rural banking if Federated Farmers had advocated for it.

In the same debate, O’Connor criticised the National Party’s intention to revoke the debt mediation legislation introduced by Labour. In response, National’s agricultural spokesperson, Todd McClay, argued that the timing of the Commerce Commission inquiry was merely a diversion tactic from the high-interest rates burdening homeowners and consumers.

He emphasisedthat a genuine effort would have initiated the inquiry sooner.

Mark Patterson, voiced his party’s intent to scrutinisebanks and supermarkets, emphasising the need for a rural banking inquiry.