John may hold the key

And big bucks for his corporate mates.

JILL McKEE/Southland Times/Image ID 120070

UNDER HIS UMBRELLA: National Party leader John Key and Ardlussa farmer Rohan Horrell looking to the weather gods for some relief to the drought. Even though there was a smattering of rain on the parched Northern Southland plains yesterday it did little to ease the situation.

National Party leader John Key came to town yesterday to talk about the drought. And wouldn’t you know it — it rained.

While the rain, albeit minimal, would have been welcomed by farmers, they would no doubt be even more heartened by Mr Key’s promise of a financial umbrella to kick-start the Alliance Group’s proposed mega meat company.

Standing in a parched paddock at Rohan Horrell’s Ardlussa farm, north of Riversdale, Mr Key said it was obvious the status quo, even in a good year, was unsustainable.

“I think everyone sees the need for change.” National would look at a suspensory loan to provide capital for the establishment of the new company, Mr Key said.

When National Party finance spokesman Bill English ambled across the paddock, Mr Key quickly told him “I’ve just committed you to a suspensory loan”.

Apparently unfazed, Mr English replied: “As long as it’s under $200 million I don’t mind”.

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