Money due to Westland dairy company creditors, including a group aiming to block its imminent sale, is "far safer" with the Chinese buyer than with Westland as it stands, says chairman Pete Morrison.

He was responding to the emergence of a group of former Westland farmer-shareholders who say they're collectively owed up to $8 million cash for their shares and have asked the Overseas Investment Office to delay or stop the sale until they are repaid.

The dairy cooperative's 326 farmer-shareholders will vote on its sale for $588m to China state-owned dairy giant Yili on Thursday July 4.

The deal,