Petition numbers grow to keep Tip Top New Zealand-owned

A petition to keep iconic ice-cream company Tip Top in New Zealand hands has received almost 5000 signatures.

Fonterra is looking to sell Tip Top, as it needs to slash debt by $800 million.

However, Fonterra farmer Mathew Herbert doesn't want it being sold to overseas buyers, and started a petition to help keep it owned by New Zealand farmers.

"Tip Top is a brand that a lot of Kiwis know and trust, and farmers want it owned by New Zealand farmers and just keep that strong link from farm to freezer."

The petition encourages people to "help farmers save Tip Top from the chopping block!"

People who have signed the online petition also feel strongly about keeping the ice-cream company in New Zealand hands.

"This is a NZ company and should stay here, stop selling our companies. First Cadbury now Tip Top what's next, New Zealanders already have difficulty getting employed why make it even tougher? This is a stupid idea - NZ farmers have a hard enough time as is," said one.

"It's a NZ icon and must remain so!" said another.

Fonterra said nothing has been decided on the future of Tip Top.

"We need to keep our options open at the moment, but our preference is to keep it in New Zealand," said Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell.

The co-op will reveal its plans for Tip Top in February.