Banks need to stop being "fair-weather friends" and start working with dairy farmers says Damien O'Connor.

The Minister of Agriculture told The Country's Jamie Mackay "there will be some blunt discussions" with banks in the New Year.

"We've got to work with the banks, they should be partners in our economy they shouldn't be the players who we all have to dance to a tune to and it seems to be the way that it is at the moment" said O'Connor.

The Minister took offence to Mackay's facetious suggestion it was the Government that was keen to "ban" dairy farming.


"Oh get over yourself, that's never been the case at all" said O'Connor, who told Mackay that banks wanted to "bail out of dairy and put more money back into housing" which he found "alarming".

Listen below:

"It is going to cause a bubble there, having shovelled money out the door for dairy farmers, they now want to wind it back in and that is putting pressure on farmers all round the country and I have to say creating a bit of stress.

"They seem to be fair-weather friends. They're not there for the long haul when sometimes industries go through transitional periods" said O'Connor.

"We'll have a good strong dairy industry for a long, long time but it shouldn't come under these short term pressures because the banks want to bail out".

Also in today's interview: O'Connor had some strong words for Greenpeace's "miserable response" to the Wairarapa Dam scheme.