Anderton attacks 'hand-wringing' Greens
The Green Party's demand for Fonterra to drop the price of milk at home has brought a sharp response from Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton.
"It might make the hand-wringing Greens feel good to say this sort of banal statement but what are they really asking for?" he said today.
"The only sustainable way to price goods is by international markets. Anything less and you are on a slippery and unsustainable slope."
Green's co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons made the call at the weekend, when she told the party's annual conference New Zealanders were wondering why they were paying 60 percent more for a litre of milk than they were a year ago.
She said only 4 percent of Fonterra's milk was sold on the domestic market.
"Sell your products in New Zealand at a price that our people can afford," she said.
"You make so much on your exports you can afford to make less profit on the four percent you sell here."
But Mr Anderton said it was ironic that the Greens persistently complained about the intensification of dairying but also wanted to see prices drop.
"The only sustainable and sensible way to help Kiwi households meet their food bills is to grow the economy and provide income assistance through better pay, more jobs and tax relief such as Working for Families," he said.