The dairy industry produced 16 billion litres of milk in 08/09. The 17,000 dairy farmers got an average half million payout. So how come they only paid $26 million in tax in total? Are we meant to believe that the average dairy farm makes a million litres of milk for $5,000 profit? Rubbish. They’re creaming it.
Bill’s brother Conor English says the poor old farmer is doing it tough:
“The reason why there’s not much tax being paid is because there hasn’t been much money made. The average dairy farmer … made a cash loss of $50,000.”
Labour’s Stuart Nash retorts:
“Either we have a sector in dire financial trouble or the sector is simply writing off a lot of income against expense and not paying tax,” Mr Nash said. “I hope it’s the latter. If they are facing dire financial trouble then we as a nation are in the poo”
Nash’s right. If dairy was really in this much trouble we would be screwed. But it’s not.
I’ve never met a poor dairy farmer.
What the dairy farmers have been doing is just the same as the landlords. Speculation. They’ve gone out and spent billions on converting marginal land to dairy. Even at record milk prices, these farms aren’t turning a profit. Simply not economic dairying land. The farmers relied on land price increases to cover their borrowing costs. They write-off stuff they were never meant to so they appear to earn no profit. Then pay no tax while still living very comfortably.
Strip away all the tricky financial arrangements and the write-offs, and there’s some wealthy buggers doing very well, paying no tax, polluting our rivers for free, and smugly calling us bludgers. Bloody cheek.
Oh, and the Nats are giving the farmers $400 mil in free irrigation in the Budget. That’ll just see them turn more poor land to dairy and raise land prices. The dairy farmers will get more untaxed profits. All paid for by us idiots who pay tax. Helps when your bro is the Finance Minister, I guess.