James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Embattled Crafar rejects receivers' relocation offer

Allan Crafar and his family have been asked to vacate their properties by receivers. Photo / Herald on Sunday
Allan Crafar and his family have been asked to vacate their properties by receivers. Photo / Herald on Sunday

High profile dairy farmer Allan Crafar says he will stay on his family land at Reporoa, despite an offer from receivers that was due to expire at the end of today.

It was not clear whether that meant the end of the business day, however it appeared that the property was still being used by the family at around 6pm this evening.

A spokesman for receivers KordaMentha said they were following a process but would not provide any further details.

The Crafar family owes more than $200 million to PGG Wrightson, Westpac and RaboBank after its four central North Island farms went into receivership in October last year.

Last month, the China Jin Hui Mining Corporation (recently renamed Natural Dairy (NZ) Holdings) agreed to purchase the Crafar farms in a billion-dollar deal.

KordaMentha have offered Crafar six months' free rent in Rotorua but only if they leave their Reporoa farm today.

Crafar, 57, told the Herald he had no plans to do so and they would have to go through the courts to get him out.

"I have had a gutsful. Anyone in this country who is productive gets nailed," he said.

"[The banks] keep nailing farmers like me. To be honest, I don't think there is much in the future for our country.

"Everywhere you read it's always the farmers' fault," he said.

Crafar said farming had been his life for 40 years and he was at a loss as to what he was now going to do.

Last year, the Crafar family companies hit the headlines last year over their environmental and animal welfare practices when scores of calves died from neglect.

The Ministry of Agriculture inspectors visited all 22 farms and found underweight cows, inadequate feed and lack of shelter.

At the time Crafar said he, his wife Elizabeth, and his brother Frank were being unfairly targeted.

Receiver Michael Stiassny of KordaMentha said the Crafars were not entirely to blame as some of the animals were owned by sharemilkers.

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