Letter: Westpac is the real villain here

Last updated 12:00 03/05/2012

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OPINION: It's a bit rich for Grant Knuckey, head of institutional banking for ANZ China (BusinessDay, April 23), to defend the Crafar farms sale by another Australian bank.

The farms went into receivership because the Crafars couldn't service the excessive debt advanced by Westpac, a debt greater than the farms' market value.

The properties could undoubtedly have been sold on the New Zealand market but would have resulted in a $20 million to $30m loss for Westpac.

To avoid the loss, the bank sought an international buyer, in this case Shanghai Pengxin.

New Zealand comprises two very small islands in the southern Pacific. Its major resource is a limited area of agricultural land that some New Zealanders regard as a strategic resource.

Opposition to the sale of farmland isn't racist but shows genuine concern at the loss of a strategic resource.

Frankly, this issue wouldn't have arisen if Westpac had behaved more responsibly toward its customer. Surely this is evidence of the need for greater banking regulation?

ALDOUS MacIVOR

Waikanae

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