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Fran O’Sullivan: a shill with diversions

Written By: - Date published: 2:02 pm, February 5th, 2012 - 215 comments
Categories: business, Economy, trade - Tags: , ,

In her recent columns, and particularly yesterday, Fran O’Sullivan has been going quite quite strange

I experienced a bit of this myself last week when the website, thestandard.org.nz, branded me an “enemy of the people” for supporting the sale.

Well the site didn’t, RedLogix did in this post. He was specifically responding to Fran O’Sullivan gloating (and that is the only appropriate word) about the Crafar decision in a previous article with this wee gem of complete idiocy.

The Crafar decision is a victory for economic rationalism over blind xenophobic nationalism. Long may the former reign.

As RedLogix pointed out Fran walked well over the line with that statement. In effect she was saying that anyone who even questioned the validity of the Crafar decision was both racist and economically illiterate.

Like RedLogix, I take considerable offence to that because I too have considerable question about the wisdom of the Crafar farms decision.

I can hardly be called economically irrational bearing in mind that I was trained and have worked in management for a decade, have a MBA from Otago, and have spent my entire life working in businesses. I have spend the last 20 years writing code and building export businesses to locations all over the world from the US to India to Argentina.

Xenophobic? Hardly – you should met my family. Not to mention that in the business end of the industry I work in (export based IT) it is rare to find people who were born here. We simply don’t train enough people at the skill levels that are required to sustain the rapid expansion over the last few decades

Nope that is all diversion that as one of the commentators pointed out, if you put a pseudonym on it, is precisely characteristic of a newbie troll trying to divert attention from a topic with interesting questions.

But what is interesting in her diversion article was a following paragraph…

To my mind the deal provides much greater upside for New Zealand than many of the other farms sales which have gone to foreign interests in recent years.

Ah yes, that is the crux of the actual question that Red and many of the 700 odd comments on his post were asking. It is also the question that Fran in my view seems to wish to avoid addressing at all costs.

If you hunt through Fran O’Sullivan’s recent articles in the Herald on the Crafar farms you’ll find the problem with the Crafar farms decision and why so many people are concerned about it including many in the rural and semirural communities where people like RedLogix live. Where is the justification for selling farmland to absentee owners who don’t understand farming and who bring no special skills to the task does for the rest of NZ?

Well you can’t find out by reading Fran O’Sullivan.

In a article entitled “Why Key will let Chinese buy Crafar farms” you find this solitary statement about the valueadd of the sale.

That is also where the value proposition for New Zealand-sourced dairy production lies. Not simply in exporting vast quantities of milk powder to Fonterra’s customers and competitors offshore (including within China) for them to refine. This will lead to more jobs in New Zealand – not fewer.

It is the sole reference in the entire article that is purportably on the topic to the question that many of us have been asking. Hardly enough detail to convince anyone and it looks like it was placed there as a virtual figleaf to say that it’d been mentioned. The rest of the article is full of irrelevent crap.

  • In the title, John Key should have fuck all to do with decisions to sell land to offshore interests. If he does then you’d have to ask the question about why exactly he is involved. The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) was specifically set up to separate political meddling from this type of economic decision.
  • The triumphs of Labour’s diplomacy that Fran speaks glowingly of are not part and should not be part of the OIO criteria for selling to a non-resident overseas buyer.
  • Almost all of the farmland sold under OIO provisions is sold to residents and not to non-resident offshore companies. It is part of the technique that we have been using for centuries to attract well-healed and skilled individual into NZ to bolster our skill sets. James Cameron being the latest example. Fran manages to completely miss the distinction in her rather disturbing personal attack on Trevor Mallard that seems to owe more to channelling her inner Whaleoil with all its stupid malevolence.
  • The Fay bid? Well it is Michael Fay’s mode of operation to pick up cheap assets to flog off using government contacts and/or the courts. Hardly worth mentioning and certainly not worth wasting the space that she used. But I can remember Fran a few decades ago postulating Fay’s operational style was a good thing for the economy. Something I thought was somewhat daft then and still do now. So I guess that was put in to excuse the change of direction

None of Fran’s other articles carry much more detail of interest to the OIO decision. We are told in “Key hits stride with Crafar farms decision

For one thing, Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson has personally stayed on the OIO’s case to make sure it did an in-depth investigation into Shanghai Pengxin’s application before forming its recommendation, – though Williamson stresses the OIO’s decision “was theirs alone.”

Which along with the title merely raises questions about the depth of political interference in what should be non-political decision.

Pengxin has pledged to co-operate in developing retail and distribution opportunities within China for high-value New Zealand dairy brands, something that is notoriously hard to do without deep pockets and on-the-ground capacity. It will also later form 50-50 joint-venture partnerships to produce more refined products here instead of simply shipping sacks of milk powder off to China.

In other words there are some fine promises with no actual details? At least that is how I read this statement of pure meaningless PR bollocks. And if that was the case why does Pengxin need vertical integration down to the level of the cowshit in the milking shed. All they have to do is to buy either the raw milk or the processed milk powder from farmers or other suppliers. The statement raises more questions than it answers.

We can understand why the deal makers in Auckland (that Fran has represented so ably over the decades in her writing) like the decision.  It looks to me like it provides them with a useful precedent for sales of farmland to non-residents and overseas companies who have little interest in developing the NZ economy and are mainly concerned about buying hard assets like land rather than building local businesses. But on the way through it opens up a new line of business for the Auckland service industries in clipping the ticket as sales of farmlands to overseas companies proceed. I’m afraid that their welfare is not synonymous with the welfare of the NZ economy regardless what Fran seems to think. I’d anticipate seeing many more attacks on the whole OIO process by the Auckland service industry anxious for more fees in the coming months.

And I’m sure that it helps the secretive Tim Groser and Murray McCully in their deal making with the Chinese government. It is probably good at getting the Chinese to help fund National’s burgeoning fiscal debt that is largely a result of their highly unproductive tax cuts.

But in all of Fran’s writing on the subject of the Crafar farms sale to Pengxin, what we don’t see is why the OIO thought this was a good decision within their limited decision framework. What we see is a whole pile of diversion into other topics.

At this point even the summary of the basis of the OIO of the decision  don’t appear to be visible on the net for the rest of us to read (although Fran points out that a briefing to the minister has some information). We rely on the people in the media to help get the information circulated and it is clear that Fran in her long business career as a journalist, editor, and columnist has access to this information. Of course as an journalist she seldom bothers to provide URL’s to the public information so others can look at it and make up their own mind. For instance she refers to a draft strategies for both

But she has failed rather spectacularly in the task of explaining the basis of the OIO’s decision to her readers. Because after rereading her articles all I am left with is more questions about both the decision and the process than when I started.

In my view, she appears to be acting less as a journalist and more as a shill for a small group of business interests in Auckland and the Chinese and our governments. When called to task by the likes of RedLogix and others around the blogs and elsewhere she responds with factuous diversions about xenophobia and business rationality (the latter from someone who appears to lack much business experience).

I see that much smoke and mirrors being then I start to look for where the body is buried. I’m starting to wonder if she has been involved making policy and strategies that she is defending and trying to divert attention from with silly statements for one of more of the parties  concerned.

Lynn Prentice

(So Fran has no excuses).

I will be following up with another post on how much of a newbie Fran is at this whole network thing. It isn’t just her. Most of the older columnists appear to be having difficulties understanding the cultures that the networks have spawned over the three decades I’ve been playing around on them. In particular that they are now subject to criticism from many knowledgeable sources and they’d better learn how to do a better job.

215 comments on “Fran O’Sullivan: a shill with diversions”

  1. Akldnut 1

    Ha an excellent summary of the tory songbirds writings, I would love to have seen this post in Nanny Herald. (Except that I refuse to buy it.)

  2. Great response Lprent.

    Let’s see if Fran is willing to respond and debate the post …

    You are right about social media too.  Reporters and politicians still do not understand it. 

  3. RedLogix 3

    What can I say; except that is the post I should have written.

  4. fender 4

    So true Lynn. When is Fran going to get off the bandwagon of accusing opponents of racism and actually point out the economic benefits to the country (should there be any).
    p.s. I dont think she should try so hard in her efforts to look like a Shipley clone.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    Yep, according to Fran O’Sullivan and the rest of the RWNJs, it’s economically rational to go round selling off the economy.

  6. dv 6

    Send the post to the herald as a letter.

  7. ianmac 7

    A great meaningful response and not one anti-chinese morsel to be seen. Your post Lynn speaks for many of us who have concerns about the Crafar Sale, and the un-workmanlike (Ruth Richardson Clone?) O’Sullivan propaganda. Thanks.

  8. M Schwartz 8

    I’m glad you’re sticking to your guns. O’Sullivan’s piece was a pathetic attempt to shut down debate using shaming tactics. Most of the comments to that article appear to disagree with her and are critical of her article.

    • RedLogix 8.1

      Thanks…I’ve just skimmed my way through most of them. As you say a good 85% of the several hundred comments are very strongly opposed. And with some irony …most of them are using pseudonyms as well.

      Fran O’Sullivan has had the privilege of insider access to our business and political system for decades. She’s paid to knock on doors, have lunch with ‘important people’ and has the backing of a major media organisation. She has the status of being a recognised award winning ‘name’ journalist and has the immense privilege of a regular column in NZ’s largest newspaper.

      The world she inhabits is very different to the one us ordinary people live in. I don’t have access to the insider information she has; I don’t get paid to spend time around Parliament and it’s environs, building and working a network of contacts; and I certainly don’t have her status as a journalist.

      Yet the internet gives us ordinary people a voice. It’s not so much ‘free speech’, as it is a voice shorn of the trappings of status and privilege. People like Fran are very threatened by this. All her working life she’s had the comfort of being able to publish, and apart from obvious legal considerations… there has been very little blow-back.

      Here on a blog like The Standard… the blow-back arrives within minutes. And you are expected to engage and respond with something like a proper debate.

      Fran simply doesn’t get that. In her world it’s all about who you are, who your contacts are, what position do you hold.. and most importantly how much real power do you wield. Living in a world dominated by status, privilege and power she finds our one, in which these things are almost irrelevant, to be completely baffling and possibly a little frightening.

      • lprent 8.1.1

        Yep. That is roughly the subject of my next post.

        Even within those on-line communities there are some quite distinct ‘cultures’ depending on where they and how they arose and the personalities. You see them in social media all the way back to when I was on DEC 11′s playing multi-user star trek in 1980.

        Reading her attitudes in her writing (you get used to doing that after a few decades), I suspect that Fran hangs out around just one of them – the Farrar/Whaleoil/Cactus group. They’re best described as being the singleton egotists who can’t work with operation in the same area as themselves (remember whale and cactus trying to team up?). Every field around computing has them (and elsewhere). But they aren’t cooperative enough to engineer and sustain anything much large than themselves unless they team up with someone else. Usually early colonisers, accumulate sycophants rather than colleagues, high failure rates, and are not very representative of what is coming later because their succession planning sucks…

        The business version is much the same and a subject of extensive research .

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.2

        Living in a world dominated by status, privilege and power she finds our one, in which these things are almost irrelevant, to be completely baffling and possibly a little frightening.

        I think you’ll find that’s true of any one with an Authoritarian bent which seems to include most of the political right. Their entire mindset is looking to the hierarchy and the hierarchy is slowly, but surely, being removed as education and communication gets better.

        • eljaydee 8.1.2.1

          Draco, I think you have finally explained the National Education policy and their stance on Internet users.

  9. Salsy 9

    Rod Oram seems to agree – in his SST article this morning titled “Clear and precendent danger” he dissects the decision process and finds no economic upside to NZ.

    Selling the Crafar Farms to Shanghai Pengxin won’t deliver the economic upside the government is claiming. Worse, with this case the Government has muddied, not clarified where it stands on foreign investment. As a result it could harm not help the dairy industry and it could deter foreign investment.


    Oram, straight to the facts tackles this massive topic in two parts – this week dedicated to the decision process, next week to the economic consequences – which, judging by the last paragraph look dire.

    But this is the biggest issue of all – has the govt set the bar high enough when it comes to measuring the economic benefit of foreign investment .. Next weeks column will argue the answer is no – In the Pengxin case, in the dairy industry and in the economy as a whole . As a result the economy is suffering..

    ….
    Presumably Fran and the National cabinet will label Rod Oram xenophobic and a racist too.

    • ianmac 9.1

      I think that Rod is banned in Government circles and like any who disagree with Key/English he will be personally attacked. Watch this space!

      • RedLogix 9.1.1

        Exactly. A great example of what happens to people who use their real name and get too far up the nose of the Great Kiwi Clobbering Machine.

  10. muzza 10

    Very good coverage LP, and some observations which upon reading Frans more recent articles, seem to be her MO these days…

    It was an article I read of hers about 1.5-2 years ago approximately, when she had just returned from some sort of trade fair or similar in China, and she was clearly at that point , in the pocket. I usually keep links, but I’ve not got that particular one!

    FOS and those who write what the public (those who bother with any current affairs), digest, and it has become woeful over the years. The MSM is going to become irrelevant, if it is not already, and the so called Alternative Media, is where those who want access to deeper information and various opinions now come, and in truth have for many years.

    Regarding the xenophobia angle, I felt compelled to email Williamson about is disturbing language, and the response I got was in the form of a letter explaining the reasons for the sale, not one word addressed my query around his accusations aimed at the NZ public…..If you are interested I can send you the attachment I received, its in pdf though so will have to be an email….

    This post of yours should be mandatory reading around the news rooms oz NZ, and I hope that it is!

  11. RedBaron 11

    Is Fran trying to keep her job? The Herald has moved some of it’s columists on recently and their parting words were less right wing then previous. Probably she has been told to attack the messengers to get the focus off the message. In the right wing world there is no such thing as an alternative message.

    The right are running scared. They had almost complete control of the MSM which was supposed to deliver an overwhelming electoral victory and look what they got – a knife edge margin.
    Even worse from their point of view is Winston gaining his seat the old fashioned way, going out and talking to voters, with virtually no media involvement.

    This, to them, means that blogs such as this one are punching way above their weight, in enabling debate, the forming of opposing views and ultimately acting as a “crowd” collection point so that people no longer feel isolated, feel they have a stake so get out and vote.

    I’m sure Nact’s just more or less dismissed this sort of internet interaction before the elction but not any longer.

    Ipredict the like’s of Fran and other MSM will launch more attacks on the people commenting here but not on the policies they discuss.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 11.1

      Shes not a ‘stringer’ just paid casual rates.
      Shes a permanent employee, may still be a deputy editor.

  12. coolas 12

    Fran O’Sullivan, like David Farrar, is a sycophant to right wing elitism. And like all sycophants she serves those she sees as more powerful than herself.

    ‘Follow the money’ John Key sees China as the major player in our trading and financial future. And selling the Crafer farms to Pengxin sends the right messages to Beijing.

    John Key is a sycophant too. He prostates to those more powerful than him, and famously said he, ‘I was only following orders,’ when asked about his part on raids on the NZD in the late ’80′s (they’ll be a link somewhere) We see this part of Key’s personality around the Royal Family, and Obama, and that 3 way handshake at the RWC – fawning, gushy, cringe.

    Whereas O’Sullivan and Farrar bow to the Government, Key and his cronies are bowing to China. And China? It’s the emerging super power of the 21st century and bows to no-one.

    I just wish they’d be honest and say, ‘We’re sucking up big time ‘cos we want to be part of the China co-prosperity sphere.’ And Key should say, ‘Akchilly, I’m just following the money. That’s what I’m best at, and China’s got the money.’

    The China debate has to be had. And I doubt the Crafar farm sale would be as potent if they’d sold to Australians, Brits, Germans, or even, gulp, Americans. Xenophobia? No. Sinophobia? Um.

    That Fran O’Sullivan couldn’t take The Standard heat was pathetic and lashing out with accusations of xenophobia and KKK showed a raw nerve was tickled. Maybe ‘enemy of the people,’ sparked an image of the guillotine – metaphor Fran – today’s blade is ridicule, and you sure dish that out, but you can’t take it.

  13. stephen 13

    [deleted]

    [lprent: you already have a ban as 'rob the dog'. Now permanent. ]

    • RedLogix 13.1

      Point to me one single instance of ‘xenophobia’ from anything I have written. Otherwise fail.

    • McFlock 13.2

      Funny. I though people could only be guilty of xenophobic comments if what they wrote was xenophobic. Leaving aside the “rantings” and the idea of The Standard as an individual.

  14. Yea Fran, so put that in your pipe and smoke it. Stupid woman totally bowled over by that “nice” Mr Key, or is it that hugh salary she is getting and wants to make sure it keeps coming.

  15. Wayne 15

    Fuck you lot are deluded.

    Whether or not the Crafar sale is good for NZ or bad for NZ or a bit of both is beside the point when it comes to discussions of racism.

    The fact is this. Where the fuck are the equivalent threads with an equal level of vitriol when it came to selling vast tracts of forestry land to Harvard?

    Was there the same public outcry?

    Obviously NO.

    You have two rapists, one white, one black, convicted of exactly the same crime of an equal level of heinousness.

    You give the white one 2 years, the black one 10 years. Is that racist? Of fucking course.

    And saying so does not make one pro-rapist.

    The benefits or otherwise of the Crafar sale, whether one thinks it is a good thing or a bad thing, has nothing to do with the racist angle.

    The simple fact is:

    Americans, Europeans buy land —-not a whimper

    Chinese buy land —huge fucken outcry (even though Asian investment in land is about 6 or 7% of the overall total).

    Now if you say at least a significant part of that outcry has nothing to do with racism you are being very very disingenuous.

    To oppose selling land to the Chinese is not racist.

    But much of the opposition is undoubtedly racist.

    • aotearoean 15.1

      This is a deeply cynical manipulative response to the issue. Of course kiwi lefties, who abhor rascism, are not in the slightest interested in the loss of control of our land but are xenophobic.

      Give me a break …

      • Wayne 15.1.1

        Fuck do you have a logical bone in your body.

        Even if I conceded that every single poster on here, or every single labour supporter is not opposing these sales for racist reasons, that would still not contradict “much of the opposition is undoubtedly racist.”

        Of course left is in general far more opposed to racism than the right. At least in more recent history (though not necessarily late 19th early 20th century). In fact the left pioneered anti-racism, in the West. It was Labour which booted out the South African embassy in 1985, it was Labour which enacted non-discriminatory immigration policy….all along the right has been playing catch up.

        But even if every single Labour supporter opposes the sale and is non-racist, that does not mean that the statement “much of the opposition is undoubtedly racist” is false.

        Does it? Or have you got rocks in your head?

        • McFlock 15.1.1.1

          Logic:
           
          Make a statement.
          Provide evidence for it.
          Statement not considered fact until proved correct.
             
          You:
          Make a statement.
          Provide no evidence for it.
          Demand that you are correct until proved wrong.
           
           

        • aotearoean 15.1.1.2

          Wayne

          Did you and stephen meet in Crosby Textor disinformation school?

        • Frank Macskasy 15.1.1.3

          But even if every single Labour supporter opposes the sale and is non-racist, that does not mean that the statement “much of the opposition is undoubtedly racist” is false.

          ???

          So what would you base it on then?

          If you concur with the statement that ” if every single Labour supporter opposes the sale and is non-racist” – then unless you’ve got some evidence to the contrary, you’re simply making a supposition based on your own political prejudices. Ie; it’s easier to dismiss opposition to farm sales as “racist”, rather than address the hard economic issue – which is much harder to do, in this case.

          I think it fair to say that the left (and some elements of the right, as well?) have the economics of this nailed (except Gosman, who lives in his own Parallel Universe) .

          And as I pointed out earlier, there was just as much opposition to the sale of high country land to Shania Twain and the sale of Young Nicks Head to US millionaire, John Griffin – people have just forgotten about it.

          Let me remind you; http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/land-sales-a-sorry-saga-of-sheer-stupidity/

          By the way, after trawling through several media reports, the first reference to racism/xenophobia is by none of than Maurice Williamson, on TVNZ’s “Close Up”, on the same night as when the government annouced approval for the sale to proceed; http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/kiwis-cows-and-canadian-singers/

          Interesting that barely 8 hours had elapsed since the Government released their decision (around 11am that morning?), and Williamson was already touting the racism/xenophobia line.

          Which is interesting; how could he arrived at that conclusion after only half a day?

          My conclusion is that Williamson had no answer to the economic debate (losing valuable export dollars to foreign investors), so resorted to ‘Plan B’: derision of critics by smearing them as racist.

          If the owner(s) had been foreign gays or women, ‘Plan B’ might well have consted of critics being derided as homophobes and misogynists.

    • McFlock 15.2

      Wow. Harvard shoots dissidents?

    • Hateatea 15.3

      Most people that I have read here who oppose the Crafar sales have stated quite clearly that they oppose the sale of NZ land to ANY person or group who are not NZ residents. The recent OIO / Government decision on Crafar is merely a lightning rod for that opposition.

      I am personally offended as being judged as a racist as I don’t see myself as such. Perhaps one would need to quiz a wider audience to discover their opinion but suffice it to say, I believe you could search any of my posts here to ascertain for yourself whether <b>MY</b> posts are racist. An open minded person should find in the negative, I think.

      I find it sad that people who speak up about an issue that they think is intrinsic to the integrity and future sovereignty of this country should be labelled as xenophobic and racist. Surely open debate about something so fundamental should be encouraged not disparaged 

      • Wayne 15.3.1

        For Fucks Sake!

        No one said you are racist for opposing foreign land sales. No one.

        (1) Opposing land sales to foreigners is NOT RACIST.

        (2) A significant contributor to the outcry over the Crafar sales is racist.

        Statement (1) does not contradict Statement (2).

        Both statements can, logically, be TRUE.

        Now.

        If there had been the SAME level of outcry over sales to Americans and Europeans, as there has been to the Chinese. Then that would be very good, not perfect, but very good evidence that the current outcry has nothing to do with racism.

        But we all know this was NOT the case.

        All of the above is true, and can be accepted as true IRRESPECTIVE of whether or not you support the Crafar farms sales to the Chinese.

        That is, one can be fucking hopping mad over the Crafar sale, be completely non-racist oneself, but still agree that ‘much of the outcry is racist’. No contradiction there.

        In fact, to really complicate things and confuse you fuckers, one can logically oppose farm sales to the Chinese, but not Americans and Europeans, and STILL be non-racist –AND—at the same time believe that much of the outcry IS driven by racist reasons.

        And by the way. Saying that people oppose the farm sales for ‘racist’ reasons is different from saying they are racist. I certainly don’t think that.

        In the same way we all do ‘bad’ things or think ‘bad’ things at some point. Does not make us ‘bad’ people.

    • stephen 15.4

      [deleted]

      [lprent: you already have a ban as 'rob the dog'. Now permanent. ]

      • ianmac 15.4.1

        I wonder just what your point is? Some drunken teens last night talked like you write. So….???

      • McFlock 15.4.2

        Wow – two tory morons don’t recall seeing before turn up, and have a past history together (Stephen and Wayne have apparently disagreed on a few points ouside ofthis issue). Almost like two sheep following the herd leader into a new field…

    • Hateatea 15.5

      BTW Do you have actual evidence that none of us who have posted here and elsewhere in opposition to the Crafar sale have not opposed sales to other non NZ residents?

    • RedLogix 15.6

      This has been answered before:

      1. The Crafar sale was unique because it had a very high media presence (quite independently of The Standard) right back to about three years ago when Bernard Hickey IIRC first broke the animal welfare story. The story always had a momentum in a way no other sale ever had.

      2. Uniquely the sale has also had competitive bids placed by Landcorp (and being a State entity could have clearly been funded to win the bid if the government had wanted it to) and from local Michael Fay backed consortium. The fact that an overseas bidder so easily trumped both of these local bids is a factor.

      3. If you think that the extraordinary Sanlu affair and it’s implications have been forgotten or can be dismissed as an irrelevant ‘unfortunate incident’… you are the one in denial. This kind of untrustworthy business behaviour has been all too common and only fools would ignore it. You are welcome to label this ‘xenophobia’ if you like.

      4. The nature of the Chinese political system is also of relevance; it is in essence a totalitarian state and it is deeply ironic that the right wing is suddenly such a huge fan of them.

      5. People are starting to wake up to the sheer amount of land that has already been alienated, something in the order of 7-10% of valueable productive farmland. Suddenly what was thought to be a minor and marginal concern has taken a real prominence.

      6. The obvious fact that the Government has manipulated the OIO process to delay the announcement until after the election … this fact alone pisses people off.

      7. And finally The Green Party has been solidly opposed to land and assets sales for a very long time. This has been brought up on those threads where it was relevant… but now the Labour Party has an aligned policy that also opposes sales over 5ha … the right faces a coherent and energised opposition on this debate.

      All these factors have combined in something of an historic accident, to make this particular sale something of a symbolic lightening rod … and thus the reaction.

      • Wayne 15.6.1

        I have time to just pick up on two of your points:

        3. If you think that the extraordinary Sanlu affair and it’s implications have been forgotten or can be dismissed as an irrelevant ‘unfortunate incident’… you are the one in denial. This kind of untrustworthy business behaviour has been all too common and only fools would ignore it. You are welcome to label this ‘xenophobia’ if you like.

        Basically you are using this incident to say the Chinese are inherently less ‘trustworthy’ than Western investors.

        But where have you been asleep the last three or four years? It was largely US corporate corruption which dragged the world into its current financial woes. And if you think that US corporates do not have very strong linkages to their government, you are very very naive.

        A country which sells to multinationals is far more at risk from US (or UK) military intervention to protect these commercial interests, than Chinese military intervention.

        In fact, the Chinese, from their history know all about that ….ala Opium Wars, Boxer indemnities, and extraterritoriality.

        By the way, the US had exactly the same kind of problems with food adulteration (including huge problems of adulterated milk which killed scores of infants) when it was at a similar stage of economic and industrial development of China now. It has little to do with the culture of the place, and not even perhaps the political system.

        4. The nature of the Chinese political system is also of relevance; it is in essence a totalitarian state and it is deeply ironic that the right wing is suddenly such a huge fan of them.

        So what bearing does this have on the issue. It is just an observation of yours. Labour almost shot their load over the FTA —with this ‘totalitarian’ state.

        The ‘totalitarian’ label is absurd, to anyone who has visited China. Just pathetic. It could be argued that Singapore is far more totalitarian – with a much higher execution rate. One could argue there is more of a human rights issue with Singapore than with China. We should cut our links with them too right?

        • RedLogix 15.6.1.1

          Basically you are using this incident to say the Chinese are inherently less ‘trustworthy’ than Western investors.

          Well yes. For instance when you get an email from a “Nigerean banker”… what is your first reaction?

          And it is faulty logic to compare the US hegemony (something the left in this country has a long and proud record on standing up to) with the Chinese one. They are at completely different stages of their life-cycle … and have a different nature. At the most basic level while it is quite true that the Western hegemony tended to be more militaristic in nature (hence the symbolic effectiveness of blocking their nuclear powered warships from our ports).. the Chinese one has tended to be more commercial in nature.

          Doesn’t stop it from being a hegemony all the same.

          The ‘totalitarian’ label is absurd, to anyone who has visited China. Just pathetic.

          As I write this, sipping a cup of green tea (a habit I recently gained from a Chinese colleague at work), I recall a conversation with her on this very topic. I can’t tell the whole story, it would be unsafe to reveal… but main reason why she lives here is to be free of the very thing you label ‘absurd’.

          PS And if you think The Standard has held back from getting stuck into the Western corporate banking system and it’s failed ideologies… then where were you?

          • Wayne 15.6.1.1.1

            At the most basic level while it is quite true that the Western hegemony tended to be more militaristic in nature (hence the symbolic effectiveness of blocking their nuclear powered warships from our ports).. the Chinese one has tended to be more commercial in nature.

            Fuck are you pathetic or what? What is that ‘militaristic in nature’ mean. The military was to back up commercial interests you knob.

            You think the West just goes in for a bit of fun? Of course not.

            China suffered at the hands of commercial AND military hegemony for the better part of a century—at the hands of the West. Commercial and military hegemony go hand in fucking glove – at least in terms of Western imperialism.

            As for your aspersions on the Chinese national character, they are entirely racist and not evidence based.

            It was the British who went in with guns blazing to force the Chinese to legalize narcotics and thus allowed British traders to flood the country with drugs. It was only in 1946 that Europeans even had to observe the laws of China–in China.

            You ignorance of how the West de-industrialised and pauperised the East, both India, and China, both of which were as rich as if not more than Europe just 200 years ago, is fucking astounding. The West (including NZ) benefitted enormously from this plunder.

            And you say we should trust the West less than the East.

            As for your pathetic commercial ‘hegemony’ yellow peril claims:

            Lichenstein owns more agricultural land in NZ than China, even after the Crafar sale. Where is the outrage over that?

            Crafar farms: a few hundred hectares.
            Agricultural land in US and European ownerhsip: hundreds of thousands of hectares.

            And China is the commercial ‘hegemon’ to fear?

            What a fucking tosser.

            By the way:

            Italy is only slightly less corrupt than China (refer corruptions perception index). Greece is more corrupt than China. http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2011/results/

            Somehow I don’t think a bunch of Italians or Greeks flocking down here to buy farmland would resonate in much the same way as the Chinese?

            Do you?

            • RedLogix 15.6.1.1.1.1

              So because the West behaved very badly in the past, this means the Chinese cannot do so in the future?

              Or that because the Chinese have only purchased one group of farms so far; they cannot buy more? Or as O’Sullivan with her insider knowledge stated that Pengxin regarded the Crafar purchase as a ‘toehold’… means nothing?

              Or that China has rocketed from nothing to the second largest economy in the world .. largely on the back of under-valuing it’s currency in order to de-industrialise much of the rest of the developed world? And this is not hegemonic behaviour?

              And if you want to tell us there is nothing much to worry about because China is just a little better than Italy… oh dear.

              A variety of reasons this particular sale has triggered this issue into the public attention…. only some of them to do with the China factor. From here on in all new sales of significance will get attention… regardless of nationality.

              • Wayne

                “Or that China has rocketed from nothing to the second largest economy in the world .. largely on the back of under-valuing it’s currency in order to de-industrialise much of the rest of the developed world? And this is not hegemonic behaviour?”

                What a crock of shit. The currency represented the actual underlying wealth of the place.

                And even a fucktard like you should understand that for over 30 years China wanted nothing to do with the West. It was the West which again, prised open China for trade, begging to trade with China. So China opened up, after being implored to by the West —-hardly hegemonic behaviour.

                It was not like the British —trade with us or we send in the warships.

                That was when everyone was gushing about how the Chinese were getting their first MacDonalds, their first KFC, etc, about the apparent limitless potential of the China market.

                But about 15 to 10 years ago the narrative tried started to change. China started playing the game a bit too clever for the liking of some…..after all it was supposed to be the West which would reap all the profits, as in the past.

                In any case the resources of the world are locked up by the 5 to 10% of people who live in the West. A consequence of centuries of imperialism.

                The United States, with less than 5 % of the global population, uses about a quarter of the world’s fossil fuel resources—burning up nearly 25 % of the coal, 26 % of the oil, and 27 % of the world’s natural gas. Who is the hegemon?

                The rise of China, and India, and soon to be Africa (5% growth) over the next several decades is inevitably going to mean a levelling of things. As competition for world resources goes up, because now Asians and Africans can get in on the game, the developing world consumption will go up, with the consequence that the developed world’s consumption will inevitably have to go down.

                Too bad. That is a good thing. It is a great democratisation of the world. No longer will it just be white Europeans calling the shots.

                Anyway I think RedLogix has confirmed that he really does prefer white investors over Chinese investors. And that he is not equally against all foreign investment in agricultural land.

                • locus

                  “It is a great democratisation of the world.”

                  You have a very strange concept of democracy if you think that ‘cleverly’ reaping profits from paying labourers pennies will democratise the world.

          • Wayne 15.6.1.1.2

            Of course it was the Labour party which sucked up to and came in its trousers to sign an FTA with this ‘commercial hegemon’ just three years ago.

            And it meant about a net increase of about 20 billion to the economy.

            Perhaps we should just cut trading links with this ‘commercial hegemon’.

            Then see what happens to the jobless rate.

            • Colonial Viper 15.6.1.1.2.1

              And it meant about a net increase of about 20 billion to the economy.

              Actually the more of our economy which foreigners own, the more increases in GDP get pumped out back to those same foreigners.

              Take Crafar farms for instance. The money the Chinese are using to buy it is going straight to pay Australian banks.

              Shame eh, shame you’re still advocating for the loss of your own country’s economic sovereignty.

      • Wayne 15.6.2

        The obvious fact that the Government has manipulated the OIO process to delay the announcement until after the election

        I am far from being a National supporter, but that simply is an absolute crock of shit. The govt had no involvment in it while the case with the OIO.

        And if the decision had been made before the election, surely you would then say it was fucking rushed, and OIO processes a crock of shit????

        • RedLogix 15.6.2.1

          The decision should have been announced in the Sept-Oct timeframe last year.

          The govt had no involvment in it while the case with the OIO.

          Why then did Fran O’Sullivan so gloatingly credit John Key with the sale?

        • Frank Macskasy 15.6.2.2

          From a post I made on my Blog in November, last year; http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/the-crafar-farms-why-the-delay-from-the-oio/

          The time-line of the Crafar deal is all there. Plus reference to OIO time-frames.

          I emailed Bill English several times on this issue (before it became a real public hot potato) and received no meaningful reply, except secretary’s acknowledgements.

          The only conclusion that any sensible person can arrive at is the the decision to approve the deal was delayed because of the November election.

          How else can one explain why a 70 day time-frame for approvals for “most complex” applications stretched out to nine months?

    • lprent 15.7

      Did you read my post? I have just as much of an issue with sales to any non-resident. But I don’t have any religious objections to such sales. Probably a lot less than most who comment on this site.

      What I want to know is that whoever is doing the buying is bringing something to the table that is of economic value to the country. The Pengxin proposal appears to have been massaged to conform to the look required while not actually requiring them to do anything apart from words.

      Also look at this paragraph from 2010

      Finance Minister Bill English last week said new rules on overseas investment increased ministerial flexibility to consider a wide range of issues when assessing overseas investments in sensitive land. He said the measures provided extra clarity and certainty for potential investors and the OIO.

      These changes took place after both the initial disapprovals of the sale of Crafar to Natural Dairy and the Harvard sale. They may have provided extra clarity to the OIO, however they appear to have provided less clarity to everyone else (apart from Fran) in that we have even less information about this current sale of 16 farms to a complete unknown to NZ than we had on a sale of a single farm to an organisation who has been running rural properties for a number of years.

      I don’t like either sale particularly. But the last Harvard sales was done under the old rules that said there had to be some pretty binding commitments.

      The current Crafar sale appears to show that the government has interpreted increased ministerial flexibility to mean that vague promises to do good economic things are good enough. That is the reason why I suspect there is so little information about this OIO approval, and why Fran talks about almost everything else at length apart from what Pengxin is committed to in the OIO approval.

      In other words, it looks to me like the government has simply removed all effective protections about the sale of farmland to anyone. I think that they can now say (as I alluded to in the post) that we want to sell to a company purely because we want their government to be friendly about buying our government bonds (or may be even to a minister’s bank account)… It looks to me like Bill English dumped all protections

    • Draco T Bastard 15.8

      Was there the same public outcry?

      Was the Harvard sale in the MSM as much? No? Then I think we know what happened to the public outcry. And, really, we don’t need to have an outcry over every single one to get the message across that all sales to foreigners is against the wishes of NZ.

  16. Carol 16

    Yes, I think O’Sullivan (and John Drinnan on the other O’Sullivan thread):
    http://thestandard.org.nz/more-columns-from-osullivan-please/comment-page-1/#comment-432726

    confuse the use of pseudonyms on online forums with anonymity. On forums like The Standard, posters are actively encouraged to always use the one name, pseudonym or real name. This way, reading The Standard discussions regularly means I get a strong sense of the identity of each regular poster and commenter.

    And I know more about some of the pseudononymous posters and commenters here, than I do about some high profile people who write using their own name e.g. John Drinnan… I know the name, but have no real knowledge of him apart from that. I tend not to take notice of the names of writers of news articles in online news sites. I don’t know any more about Lynn Prentice than I do about RedLogix, IrishBill, Queen of Thorns, Colonial Viper etc. Come to think of it, I don’t know any more about Fran O’Sullivan than I do these posters and commenters.

    I know more about the character, and attitudes of pseudononymous Standardistas, than I do about some people who stand up and speak at town hall meetings.

    And, usually, over time, there is enough of a network of regular posters to an online forum, some of whom know each other offline, so that any regular participant in the forum could probably identified in RL, if it were necessary… the only time I’ve known this to be necessary is when a poster in a forum said they were about to top themselves. Someone in the forum tracked them down at home and got professional help to them.

    Pseudonyms just provide a bit of a separation between participation in a forum and the rest of one’s life, for whatever reason.

    The only reason I can see for enforcing use of real names, is so that people who consider they have a high profile or status want to use that to promote their views, rather than to use a sound argument based on supporting evidence.

    • ianmac 16.1

      “I don’t know any more about Fran O’Sullivan than I do these posters and commenters….”
      I think you would know more about Fran by just reading up about Fran’s model, Ruth Richardson.

    • lprent 16.2

      On forums like The Standard, posters are actively encouraged to always use the one name, pseudonym or real name.

      Yep. Apart from anything else, changing handles is kind of hard for us moderators.

      Because we actively ban people we also have to check every new handle to see who they were (changing handles is always a popular way to avoid bans). If we recognize the IP range or writing style then they get spammed. If they start their first comment by violating policies or just looking like an idiot who isn’t able to sustain an argument, then they get spammed.

      It is a lot of work and we don’t really like people doing it lightly. For first timers generally it pays to write something considered and sensible. The nutters out there seem to never learn that.

    • John Drinnan 16.3

      Its so you are accountable for your views

      • RedLogix 16.3.1

        Accountable in what way John?

        Legally or do you have some other form of retribution in mind?

      • lprent 16.3.2

        As RedLogix says, accountable how? In the 4 years since we started we have had people saying that there would be legal action innumerable times. I think that we have been contacted by other parties about 10 times tops. Most were trivial. Generally we just look at the offending passages and if they are in our view problematic, we adjust them – so far to everyone’s satisfaction or grudging quiescence.

        Around here both the commentators and the authors are accountable to The Standard trust, which essentially means to Mike, me and the authors with editorial rights. Any of them can edit all posts and all comments. Other authors apart from guests can edit their own posts and comments on their own posts.

        We keep a fairly close eye on anything that is likely to be a legal problem. Given the actual legal structures in this area outside of the criminal law there is a pretty wide latitude in the political arena. Personally I find that I have to keep just as much of a watch on people who don’t know the limits who criticize the site. Some of the crap that is sprouted as being “the law” isn’t anything of the kind. Most of it seems to be from vague recollections of the the british law of the 60′s. And I just know that someone will do a nuisance suit at some stage…

        Journo’s are just going to have to live with a lot of smart and not so smart people from outside their profession setting up and writing sites like this. I suspect that you’ll find that more and more of the blog sites go coop because then it is easier to specialize and the demands to produce content per author diminish. The costs have come down far enough that it is feasible to run decent capacity servers. And we tend to form cooperative arrangements with other sites.

        People read it because it is interesting and often informative, and in turn they can participate the the dialogue. Like BBS’es, usenet and other network systems before, it is more fun when you’re participating than when you’re on the end of a broadcast medium.

        But the legal space is almost exactly the same as your one.

  17. stephen 17

    [deleted]

    [lprent: you already have a ban as 'rob the dog'. Now permanent. ]

  18. Hi Wayne,

    I think your account misses out the following facts:

    There was very little coverage in the media of these other sales; relatively ordinary people like me are now shocked to hear that such sales happened without making a media ripple.

    Reasons for the greater coverage of the sale of these farms probably has to do with (a) the earlier media coverage of the apparent maltreatment of cows on those same farms; (b) the even earlier aggressive purchasing behaviour of the Crafars during a dairy farm boom (and massive interest in dairy conversions and the dairy boom), which ‘we’ learnt about subsequent to the charges of maltreatment of animals; (c) the current and continuing controversies (certainly here in Canterbury) over the expansion of dairying and its use of water; (d) being told, via the media, on a regular basis that our economic future depends on dairy exports.

    I would have liked to have seen a bigger fuss made of the Harvard purchases and any number of other purchases by foreign corporate and institutional entities.

    While I’m not an economist, I understand that one of the problems of ‘export’ industries that rely on overseas companies is that much of the infrastructure and profits get quickly siphoned out of the country (e.g., as has been pointed out as regards tourism operations in the ‘Third World’ – where hotel materials, construction, and managers are all imported, leaving waiting staff jobs for locals).

    I want to hear these economic processes debated – which, apparently, Rod Oram will do in next weekend’s SST. 

    • Puddleglum 18.1

      Did it again!

      The above was meant to be a reply to comment 15 from Wayne.

      • just saying 18.1.1

        To a certain extent we are at the mercy of the media. I learned of the Harvard deal long after the fact. I’ve long opposed overseas elites being able to buy up local resources. We have enough problems with our home grown elites. I certainly opposed the free trade agreements right from the start.

        You just need to look to any colonised people to see the harm that losing the land and other resources visits on the dispossessed.

        • Populuxe1 18.1.1.1

          Yeah, God knows the UK never inherited anything useful from the Romans, Danes and Normans…

          • Frank Macskasy 18.1.1.1.1

            Much like if our planet was invaded and colonised by aliens, we’d “inherit” “useful” things from our new reptilian Overlords?

            Whilst that may seem a flippant response – it’s not. Indigenous populations often “inherit useful things” from invaders-cum-colonisers. Doesn’t make invasion/colonisation right, though.

          • Colonial Viper 18.1.1.1.2

            The suffering and subjugation of the people of the day is so easily forgotten, isn’t it? Its a bit tougher if your family is actually living it. Oh look at that nice Roman road! Too bad the legions used it to storm our town and kill our families, shame, but it sure is a good road.

            • Populuxe1 18.1.1.1.2.1

              Oh sorry – I forgot we only arrived yesterday. I’ll resume handing out muskets and syphilis-tainted blankets immediately!

              • Hateatea

                Haven’t you got your countries confused?

                • just saying

                  Not to mention the difference between ‘currently colonised’ and ‘formerly occupied’.

              • just saying

                So are the romans still colonising Britain? Most of Britains land and industry owned by Italians? Otherwise I fail to see the relevance.

              • Hateatea

                As a matter of academic interest – Is it actually possible to transmit syphilis via fabric. I thought, perhaps wrongly, that is a sexually transmitted disease.

                Smallpox, on the other hand, is known to have been deliberately transmitted to First Nations Americans.

                A discussion here http://www.bluecorncomics.com/smallpox.htm 
                 

                • lprent

                  I think the actual technique was

                  “If I voluntarily give you this brightly colored cloth and this (harmless) drink, can I screw you”

                  Or otherwise known in modern terms as Barney in “How I met your mother”

                  :twisted:

  19. just saying 19

    What I like most about commenting under a (consistent) handle is the freedom. I like being free to define myself according to the context of the conversation, to reveal as little or as much of my personal story as I like. And I enjoying learning about other regular commenters (and authors) over time in the same way – without the preconceived ideas. It’s good to separate the arguments from the superficials of the identity of the speaker, even though, as you say, a kind of identity emerges over time. I really like that anyone with access to the net can have their say, and be judged more on the merits of their argument, than their place in the world. It doesn’t work perfectly of course, and I’m only too aware of the privlege invloved in just being able to be part of the www.

    Using a consistent handle, (and as far as I’m aware most here do), is not the same as anonymity – there come to be expectations. If I read something abusive, or bigoted or just plain ignorant and nasty under the handle of someone I’ve come to respect, I do a double take, and check to see if someone else is using their identity, or wonder if they are having a really bad day, or I’m just disappointed or annoyed. And the converse when a troll, for example, is compassionate or wise, or puts up a good case for their postion. Just like in real life

    I use my home email as an act of good faith, and feel accountable for what I say, and use the same handle in the few other blogs I comment at. Again, I assume most people do. I certainly hope there aren’t just six or seven of us left in the left, and lots and lots of different handles :D

    oops – meant to be a reply to Carol at 16

    • lprent 19.1

      Yeah, there is nothing quite as disappointing as letting your handle down. Lyn always says that she preferred my AncientGeek handle that I used for conversation (rather than sysop) when the site started up. I had to give it up as the moderation role got too large and the potential conflicts of interest of Lynn as a commentator and Lynn as a moderator got too close.

  20. By the way, I found two statementrs from Key that I used in one of my That-was-then-this-is-now images. I didn’t realise how connected the two statements were; http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/that-was-then-this-is-now-10-2/

    One actually flows into the other, as it it were part of one paragraph.

  21. Schlurps McGoo 21

    Hi, longtime lurker, first time poster.

    Regarding pseudonyms:

    A number of notable critics throughout the years have published their works, satires and so forth under assumed names, usually to avoid all the typical responses; physical retribution, social stigma, financial pariahdom etc. Writers like Mark Twain, George Orwell, Lewis Carroll are surprise surprise not their actual names!

    Bloody Cowards!!

    Actually, I think Western Civilisation as a whole would be a lot poorer if these spineless bastards hadn’t written dastardly (but true) criticisms under names that were not their own.

    (Incidentally I think Jonathan Swift’s works were not published under his own name until after he was dead. And he used different pseudonyms for each work, how gutless.)

    The reason I bring this all up of course is…. Fran O’Sullivan is attacking her critics instead of their arguments.

    If you can’t figure out why that would be, you’ll probably need to go to howdoiwipemyarse.com for tips.

    • lprent 21.1

      Good first comment. I wish that I’d thought of it and I had all of the info.

      I did think of pointing out that the 17th and 18th century phampleteers who formed the base of what became the newspaper industry, and that the norm in the 19th and 20th centuries in newspapers has been anonymous or at best psuedonomous writers. The column writer with their actual name is a late 20th century innovation

      • Schlurps McGoo 21.1.1

        Thank you,

        I was considering using Grand High Dragon as my handle, but thought that was a bit too on-the-nose for this discussion.

        It really isn’t necessary to know someone’s gender or age or ethnicity in order to read and consider their views and I for one oppose demonising people that choose a discourse that doesn’t require disclosing our real-world identities.

        Also the idea that Orwell or Twain had nothing of worth to say because they wrote under pen-names is frankly stupid.

        Now, I shall retreat back into the web, to lurk once more.

    • Peter Martin 21.2

      heh, I use my real name …because I can. The beauty of the intertubes is that it gives voice to folk who otherwise would be utterly anonymous.
      The day journalists name all their sources is the day Fran O’Sullivan goes out of business…

    • Draco T Bastard 21.3

      +1

      :twisted:

  22. Scott Chris 22

    LPrent says:- “I can hardly be called economically irrational bearing in mind that I was trained and have worked in management for a decade, have a MBA from Otago”

    Okay, so what is your economic argument for keeping the Crafar farms in New Zealand hands over selling to a Chinese owned company? Personally I see the sale as a gesture of trust which is an important component of Chinese business protocol. Had the sale been blocked, there would have been repercussions for our business relationship with the Chinese.

    Not sure what all the fuss is about really. After all, Liechtenstein has bought 10 times more land than has China in the past 5 years and no one has said boo. You may not be xenophobic, but much of the reaction from the electorate has been imo.

    • RedLogix 22.1

      Had the sale been blocked, there would have been repercussions for our business relationship with the Chinese.

      And if a New Zealand corporate was blocked from buying land in China this would have exactly what repercussions? There mere fact that you say this is revealing in it’s own right, it strongly implies that the relationship between New Zealand and China is not one between trading equals.

      Your argument is exactly the same as the one used by the right when New Zealand blocked US nuclear powered ships from our ports.. that the US would be unhappy and there would be ‘repercussions’. Spineless is the word that comes to mind.

      After all, Liechtenstein has bought 10 times more land than has China in the past 5 years and no one has said boo.

      We simply didn’t know. It all went on under the radar; on this our media has served us very poorly.

      Incidentally, given that at least 7% of the most valuable farmland in New Zealand is already been sold to overseas owners… any suggestions as to when we should stop? 20%, 50% .. or wait until all of it is gone?

      • “After all, Liechtenstein has bought 10 times more land than has China in the past 5 years and no one has said boo.”

        “We simply didn’t know. It all went on under the radar; on this our media has served us very poorly.”

        Ditto, Red. I’ve been looking into the sale of land, and have been blogging about our German and American cuzzies as well as the Crafar deal.

        I hadn’t picked up a single thing about Liechtenstein, though. That’s a new one.

        I wonder what other countries have been picking at the bones of our land?

    • lprent 22.2

      I am quite aware of the way that the Chinese businesses operate. But the reason that china entered into the FTA with NZ was specifically as a test environment. They and the west have to learn how to operate in each others countries. We are where china plans to find out how. We do them no favors if we try to hide or conceal the potential conflicts.

      If you consider how long it took before Japan and the west took before they stopped tripping over each others foibles and screwing up deals, and that was easy by comparision, you can see how important it is for our two cultures to learn to deal with each other.

      You are going to get a range of opinion on this from no sale to whatever amongst readers and authors here.

      Now my big bugbear in this particular case is that the process isn’t transparent in that I can’t find out what was promised, what is and can be enforced, and that the whole travesty appears to have be predicated on the usual person to person trust that characterize Chinese business. But it isn’t person to person and can never be between a company and a whole frigging country. To kiwis this type of process looks more like a sweetheart deal stitched up between a few government ministers and their mates in a foreign company.

      Now NZ is certainly the least corrupt country I have ever had to deal with. I want to keep it that way. The Chinese companies who do business here are going to have to learn a new way of dealing with a foreign government. Because our government are our servants and not our masters. If they proceed to do this crap more than a few times, then the Chinese will find that there are no land sales as we have a NZ First government.

      Do you want that? Do they?

      • Scott Chris 22.2.1

        Isn’t it a question of assessing the situation on a case by case basis? The gesture has been made by our government, presumably acting with their constituents best interests at heart, and one would assume that the gesture will be reciprocated with significant capital investment in these farms. If not, then future deals of this sort won’t be viable politically or economically. I’d imagine both parties will be bending over backwards to make this relationship work so that is another reason why I don’t have a problem with it at this stage.

        How much of our productive land should we sell? I’m not ideologically opposed to selling land to foreigners, but my guess is that the political tipping point would be maybe 30% or so, which neither National or Labour would be stupid enough to test for fear of inviting in The Great Demagogue.

        • RedLogix 22.2.1.1

          At last I appreciate someone trying to make the case for the sale without resorting to name calling or playing the r-card.

          A case for a gesture of goodwill is the best argument I’ve heard so far. It’s the kind of argument I would try and make myself. But then I’d wonder at the relative winners and losers here. It should be evident now that a very large majority of New Zealanders are pretty unhappy, not just with this sale… but with the apparently unstoppable process of more sales that seems to be accelerating. So this particular transaction has come with a pretty high political cost for this government.

          It has had to resort to the Prime Minister and a senior Cabinet Minister openly labelling anyone opposed as a ‘racist’. That’s pretty damned dodgy territory. And certainly no gesture of goodwill from the perspective of the New Zealand people. Arguably it has set back the development of a balanced and prosperous relationship between the two countries.

          It has triggered a reaction that is leaving many resident Chinese in this country uncomfortable, even though many of them as individuals question the wisdom of the sale.

          And no-one has been able to make even the most rudimentary business case for it.

          In other words all downsides for New Zealand and only an upside for China. This doesn’t bode well a sound trading relationship does it?

          • Ross 22.2.1.1.1

            I don’t agree that this sale has come with a high cost for the government. The sale was always likely to proceed, if not to this company then likely to another Asian company, or at the very least another foreign company. Of course, there may not have been quite as much oppositon had the new owners had pale faces. Certainly there seems to be a lot of positivity about James Cameron’s purchases, and a recent TV3 poll showed 70% support for his purchases.

            Let’s not forget that it wasn’t very long ago that Helen Clark, then PM, formally apologised to the Chinese community for past racism. The idea that racism could partly explain opposition to this deal is not a long bow to draw.

            • lprent 22.2.1.1.1.1

              James Cameron is going to be a resident. We got half of our settlements from people coming in as immigrant residents buying land and improving it and/or starting whole new industries here.

              Pengxin is going to be a nonresident company who apparently are only offering to buy land and to promise to be good…

              Don’t be a jerk. The cases are completely different.

              • Ross

                Yes, Cameron is moving his family here…I’m not entirely sure of the relevance of that, unless you’re suggesting that it would be much better if Pengxin moved some Chinese family members here. I somehow don’t think you’re suggesting that, so the fact that Cameron is moving his family here seems like a red herring.

                Interestingly others have cited Rod Oram’s comments. Maybe they don’t realise that Oram supports the purchase of farms by overseas (non-resident) buyers. He also says that the government was bound to accept the OIO’s decision in this case, lest it open up a can or worms.

                • lprent

                  It makes quite a difference. People get really really attached to land and managing it. I never realized how much until my parents brought 88 acres as a hobby farm, and a few years later when I went and spent a year farming on several properties.

                  Companies that I have seen just treat it like an asset and don’t maintain it.

                  Of course you get the Crafars with their multiple repeated infractions against the rivers. But that is rare if you look at multigenerational farmers (these days).

                • “He also says that the government was bound to accept the OIO’s decision in this case, lest it open up a can or worms.”

                  As did Jane Kelsey – but in a wholly critical way, demonstrating how FTAs with other nations can remove our sovereignty bit-by-bit.

                  “Yes, Cameron is moving his family here…I’m not entirely sure of the relevance of that, unless you’re suggesting that it would be much better if Pengxin moved some Chinese family members here. ”

                  You’re “not entirely sure of the relevance ” of people migrating to New Zealand; to become part of a community; have their children schooled here; pay taxes here; And become citizens here – as opposed to offshore investors buying a business; exporting the goods; and remitting profits to offshore bank accounts; and no other committment to New Zealand society?!?!

                  Shall we start with becoming a citizen of a country v.s. a commercial investment?

                  • Ross

                    “You’re “not entirely sure of the relevance ” of people migrating to New Zealand; to become part of a community….”

                    Oh so James Cameron is coming here to be part of the local community. Thanks for clearing that up, Frank. The rest of your post talks about how much money we can extract from him. As long as we can extract plenty of money from him, it’s ok if he buys land here, is that your position?

                    • RedLogix

                      Oh so James Cameron is coming here to be part of the local community. Thanks for clearing that up, Frank.

                      Consider the headwind Shania O’Twain ran into some years ago in very similar circumstances, so of course Cameron may well have just gotten good PR advice and be claiming to be moving his family here. Or some combination of weasel words thereabouts…

                      If he lives up to his promises well and good.

                      Is that the whole story? There still remains the underlying question of wealthy overseas bidders (resident or not) having access to much cheaper funding than us and being able to outbid locals every time. Even John Key knows that isn’t good for New Zealand.

                      It’s a process that has been quietly gathering pace this last decade or so and it’s taken most people a while, me included, to get a handle on how far it has progressed.

                    • Interesting how you’ve taken only one aspect of my post, and ignored the rest. Taking a comment out of context dioesn’r prove anything except your ability to C&P.

                      You made the point “I’m not entirely sure of the relevance of that, unless you’re suggesting that it would be much better if Pengxin moved some Chinese family members here” – I was addressing it with an answer.

                      How about addressing the entire response I gave; “…of people migrating to New Zealand; to become part of a community; have their children schooled here; pay taxes here; And become citizens here – as opposed to offshore investors buying a business; exporting the goods; and remitting profits to offshore bank accounts; and no other committment to New Zealand society?!?!”

                      Because that it precisely the difference between offshore investors and Cameron (or any other immigrant, for that matter).

            • RedLogix 22.2.1.1.1.2

              Certainly there seems to be a lot of positivity about James Cameron’s purchases, and a recent TV3 poll showed 70% support for his purchases.

              Of course Cameron was quick to commit to moving his family to Poronui and I’m assuming will work as a director out of Weta Studio. A completely different scenario… although if you recall Shania O’Twain ran into formidable opposition when she failed to make her intentions clear.

              But equally while Cameron did all the right things, if this trend of rich overseas corporates and elites buying up New Zealand, making us ‘tenants in our own land’ (as John Key himself stated).. then expect attitudes to harden rapidly. Regardless of nationality.

              Let’s not forget that it wasn’t very long ago that Helen Clark, then PM, formally apologised to the Chinese community for past racism.

              The worst of which occurred during the 19th Century. Not excusing it.. but it is a long bow to make it relevant to 2012.

            • eljaydee 22.2.1.1.1.3

              Ross, I think you will find that the support for Cameron’s purchase is because unlike Shanghai Pengxin, he does not have a predefined relationships in the primary market for his produce and he is moving his family and, presumably, other business to New Zealand.

              • Ross

                So if Pengxin were in the same position as Cameron, you’d be right behind the Pengxin purchase?

                • I can’t speak for others. But personally, if the owners of Shanghai Pengxin moved to NZ; brought their famlies here; transferred their business operations here; exported goods to earn us export dollars; and became part of our community – I’d welcome them like any other New-New Zealanders.

                  At least then it’s a win-win for both the Shanghai Pengxin owners and their families – and us.

                  And like other immigrants, they’d contribute in other ways to our society (not just financially).

                  So yeah, I’d welcome them. And I’d shout them a beer at the local, and explain to them what a ‘shout’ was.

                • rosy

                  16 farms… for the usually uninterested, 16 farms is a powerful image. I think that has been missed in the immediate shill about xenophobia.

                  16 farmers
                  16 farmers families… I reckon this is the subtext of a lot of the opposition. Of course it’s not rational, it’s emotional but 16 farms is easy to comprehend, a number of hectares is more a context-free image. It makes the Crafar deal a bit of a tipping point.

                  For the record, I’m opposed to the Crafar deal because of the vertical integration the buyers are looking for, and if the world economy goes belly-up the owners have no vested interest in working for New Zealand.

                  If people buy up and live here, then they are more likely to have a vested interest in working for NZ, rather than their country of origin. However, I’m not at all sure I’d be on the record of supporting the Cameron purchase. I just can’t see on what grounds I could legitimately oppose it – if the MSM reporting of it is correct.

                • eljaydee

                  I would certainly be happy if Pengxin moved their entire operation to New Zealand although they can leave their intensive sheep farming technology in China. (see the image of barn housed sheep in the lide show at at http://www.peng-xin.com.cn/ )
                  It is 40 years since i lived on a farm and I hope NZ sheep farming has not got this intensive.
                  Pengxin is a large private development and investment company, Cameron is a wealthy individual.

            • muzza 22.2.1.1.1.4

              My girlfriend is from Asia, with chinese heritage – She feels the sale is a bad idea for NZ!

              Is she racist?

        • lprent 22.2.1.2

          Yes, and that is exactly what the origional OIO procedure did. It looked at a case by case basis AND the minister can exercise a veto. The basis was how much skills and value did the buyer bring to NZ outside of the actual cash.

          Just looking at Fran’s sanitized description, it would appear that the minister now sets the parameters, sets what the desired result should be, helps get the case ready for the challenge in the courts, and briefs selected journos on how they’d like it played. Being Maurice Williamson and always kind of low on the pecking order due to his being a bit of dork – I wonder who he took his instructions from.

          What is wrong with this picture in a NZ context? Damn near everyone of my ancestors came here in the 19th to get away from those stupid political cretins who seem to think this crap is viable. That is why NZ is so free of these inefficient corrupt practices.

          Personally I refer rebellion against autocratic idiots earlier rather than later. So we will do the escalating discontent now rather than later when we have to pull weapons to achieve it. The former is far preferable to the latter for all sides. It is democracy when you can tell anyone that they are acting like a fuckwit if they think we are going to tolerate crap like the government just tried to orchestrate. And kiwis are above all democrats – we prefer getting rid of arseholes peaceably and early.

          What the Pengxin and/or the OIO (and you note that the goverment and its ministers don’t actually have a say – either we trust the OIO or sales get terminated) should do is explain what the advantages of this deal are for NZ in clear language and without the fucking stupid PR folderol of xenophobia that O’Sullivan tried to use. The people that they have to convince are the young farmers and their supporters. Stuff outside what Pengxin is actually committing to do for NZ is irrelevant…. It is a case by case basis.

          They really have to do it immediately after current court challenge is ruled on. Because if I read the country correctly then that is when the shit really starts hitting the fan.

        • eljaydee 22.2.1.3

          Scott, I think you will find that to most people your “gesture” is their “precedent”. Any attempt to block future large land purchases will be met with “But you let Shanghai Pengxin buy the Crafar farms why won’t you let xxx buy yyy”, in just the same way that supporters of this sale are saying “why didn’t you protest the Harvard sale”.

      • Wayne 22.2.2

        The Chinese companies who do business here are going to have to learn a new way of dealing with a foreign government. Because our government are our servants and not our masters.

        You are talking rubbish here. The Chinese just followed the rules in respect of their application. It is up to the NZ govt to make the process more transparent. There was no different in the level of transparency over this deal, than there has been over previous sales to Americans and Europeans. How much do you know about the Harvard buy up of forestry land?

        If they proceed to do this crap more than a few times, then the Chinese will find that there are no land sales as we have a NZ First government. Do you want that? Do they?

        Really I don’t think they would care that much. New Zealand simply is not that important to them. This Crafar thing did not make any of the Chinese newspapers.

        Whatever the case there is huge opposition to Chinese buying land here. Whether or not they open the process up a bit more for public viewing is hardly going to make a single bit of difference.

        Interestingly when it comes to a matter of culture and trust, in Africa, the seem to prefer the Chinese over Westerners. The 2011 BBC survey found that “The consensus prevails among African countries as well with regard to how they consider China’s fairness in the way it trades with its partners.On average, in the continent, China is considered the fairest partner, with an average fairness score of 7.02 on a 0-10 scale, ahead of the US (6.61) and the EU (6.52)”

        The original full report is here:
        http:/www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/pdf/mar11/BBCChina_Mar11_rpt.pdf

        I suppose that is hardly surprising. Western ‘values’ mean you just walk into other peoples countries uninvited and with guns. That is how white people ended up owning almost 100 percent of the productive land in Zimbabwe —until Robert Mugabe did the right thing and chased them out and kicked their backsides. But then you people are hypocrites…you don’t like Mugabe do you?

  23. Ross 23

    I think it was inevitable that a foreign buyer would purchase the Crafar farms. When they were put into receivership in October 2009, it was reported that there had been interest from the Chinese. And of course it was also reported that the farms’ debts totalled about $200 million. It is unclear why the Fay consortium thought they could purchase the farms for about $30 million less than what was owing…maybe they were looking for a bargain.

    • RedLogix 23.1

      You are forgetting this deal that went down as well. Or that Landcorp itself put in a bid.

      Incidentally it is perfectly reasonable to ask why both of those bids failed. No prizes for guessing right.

    • lprent 23.2

      Fay is always looking for a bargain. That is how he makes a living.

      Please read some history on the 1980′s and 90′s

      • Ross 23.2.1

        So you opposed his bid as well? What bids (if any) would you have deemed acceptable and why?

        • lprent 23.2.1.1

          Yes.

          As far as I can see Fay should be regarded as a Swiss resident these days. He hasn’t paid taxes or been involved in this country for a decade as far I am aware. What he is offering is a financing deal for some individual farmers at what looks like low market rates on marginal dairy land with the receiver not having to sell each farm separately.

          In the absence of information on why the Chinese companies bid provides benefit for NZ then the receiver should sell the properties as individual farms and the banks would take the hit for their daft lending. I can’t see any particular reason why the tax payer should change the laws to subsidize a bank,

          • Ross 23.2.1.1.1

            The OIO decision identifies “substantial and identifiable” benefits to NZ.

            http://www.linz.govt.nz/sites/default/files/docs/overseas-investment/oio-recommendation-crafar-farms-20120127.pdf

            • Frank Macskasy 23.2.1.1.1.1


              “The OIO decision identifies “substantial and identifiable” benefits to NZ.

              The OIO is naive.

              They forget that most of the profits from those farms will go offshore.

              Something to consider; we are exporting more, now, than ever before.

              But our Balance of Payments is still in the ‘red’ (deficit).

              Why is that?

              Simple.

              In the 1970s, the outflow of payments was due to the oil shocks of the early and late ’70s.

              In the 1980s, as the economy was opened up and SOE’s were privatised to (mainly) overseas investors, we lost even more payments by way of profits remitted to offshore investors.

              Current Account
              http://www.tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/current-account

              (Change the Date selector on the left to 1965 – the data will re-calculate automatically)

              Exports
              http://www.tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/exports

              (Change the Date selector on the left to 1951 – the data will re-calculate automatically)

              So really, we are chasing our collective tail; the more we export, the further into deficit we go with our BoP – because the outflow of profits from foreign own companies negates our export earnings. (And often our export companies are foreign owned anyway.) And the more banking that export companies do, the more profits the Big Banks make – which are Australian – so THEIR profits go overseas as well.

              Ditto for foreign owned farms. The more they export, the less foreign exchange we’ll earn.

              And that has further consequences down the line with credit ratings; interest rates; etc.

              (Damn, I was going to leave this as a blog post on my blog… ah, heck, what the hell. It’s pertinent to this discussion.)

              • Ross

                Frank,

                Naive is not a word I’d use to describe the OIO. Have you taken the time to read their decision? It took the OIO 9 months to reach their decision.

                • lprent

                  Be nice if you could. Doesn’t appear to be on their site, and it looks like a summary won’t be there until the end of the month.

                  But post a link.

                  And they are meant to be able to do approvals in 70 days. From memory Frank has a post about the time on his site

                  • Ross

                    I have previously posted a link to the OIO’s decision. Here it is:

                    http://www.linz.govt.nz/sites/default/files/docs/overseas-investment/oio-recommendation-crafar-farms-20120127.pdf

                    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/6370358/Taranaki-foreign-farms-buy-up-nearer

                    The above story says that a foreign buyer could be just days away from buying more than 2000 hectares in the Taranaki. It says that the OIO received the application “in the middle of last year”. Clearly, some applications take more than a month or two to consider. I would’ve thought that was good….important decisions shouldn’t be rushed.

                    • RedLogix

                      I would’ve thought that was good….important decisions shouldn’t be rubber stamped….FIFY.

                    • Ross

                      So it took about 9 months to “rubber-stamp” this application? That OIO is bloody inefficient!!! What happened to an earlier Chinese application? That’s right, it got rejected!

                      I quote from the OIO, which hopes to decide on complex applications within 70 days:

                      “Note that these targets apply to high quality, well prepared and analysed applications, and excludes the time where the OIO is waiting for the applicant to provide further information and the time for Ministers to consider and make decisions on relevant applications.”

                      I’d make one other point. I suspect that the vast majority of land sales to foreigners don’t require OIO approval. That’s because the land being purchased is less than 5 hectares. Such purchases don’t receive any public scrutiny.

                  • Indeed, lprent; http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/the-crafar-farms-why-the-delay-from-the-oio/

                    That’s a link to a post I made on 14 November, last year. I also predicted,

                    “I do not expect a reply from Bill English.

                    I do expect that permission for the Crafar Farms to be sold to Shanghai Pengxin will be given next year.

                    This is the government that New Zealanders expect to re-elect…”

                    I should have placed a bet on iPredict… :-(

            • Draco T Bastard 23.2.1.1.1.2

              enhanced ecological sustainability in the farming operations on the land;
               protection and enhancement of native flora and fauna;

              Those two benefits are actually physically impossible. Farming destroys the environment.

              Three new jobs are also likely to be created by the investments SPGL intends to make in marketing and (indirectly through joint ventures) in processing dairy products. These investments will not be made unless SPGL establishes its business in New Zealand by the acquisition of the farms, through the Applicant, and therefore can be said to be related to the acquisition of the farms.

              Which is a load of bollocks, if the demand was there then the investments would happen with out SPGL.

              introduction of overseas agribusiness expertise

              And yet they’re setting up a training facility on the farms to be run by Landcorp…
              The training facility is also the source of the two possible extra jobs the sale may produce.

              …and identification of marketing opportunities for New Zealand in China, which may extend to other New Zealand products beyond dairying.

              We don’t need to sell land to them to do that. A simple business arrangement works fine.

              Without a vested interest in the performance of New Zealand’s dairy industry, the Applicant will not be incentivised to take those steps.

              BS, if they could sell our products in their supermarkets they would already be doing so. They don’t need land here to do so.

              The rest of the supposed benefits seem to start with We have insufficient information to quantify…

              I haven’t finished reading it yet but so far the entire document reads as someone trying to justify their position.

  24. dan the hand 24

    Its not like NZ companies are also buying land in China for sizeable amounts of cash?

    link

    • lprent 24.1

      See these
      http://www.economist.com/node/18928526
      And
      http://www.economist.com/node/21546014

      The state owns all of the land in china. You may only obtain a lease, and at present those leases are about to run out. Land in the rual areas is even more murky…

      Now be a good wee troll and learn enough to argue your own ideas before spinning someone elses lines

      • Wayne 24.1.1

        The issue is Fonterra owns the farms legally at least to the same level as any other Chinese person born in China could. That is the point.

        If China said Chinese people in China could own land, but not foreigners, then you may have a very very weak point concerning reciprocitiy in terms of investment opportunities.

        And it seems most of you fuckers are economically illiterate.

        If I have eggs I can barter for tomatoes and still get a fair deal. It does not have to be eggs for eggs.

        • Populuxe1 24.1.1.1

          Much as it pains me to say, I’m inclined to agree. Land ownership, private or public, is an abstract concept. You can’t take land away and as the cliche goes “possession is nine tenths of the law”.

          • Frank Macskasy 24.1.1.1.1

            You can’t take land away and as the cliche goes “possession is nine tenths of the law”.

            That’s right. You can’t take the land away.

            But offshore investors can certainly take the profits away.

            And any chances for our children to own farms.

            • Populuxe1 24.1.1.1.1.1

              But offshore investors can certainly take the profits away.

              Non-productive and mismanaged land is hardly injecting capital into the economy anyway.

              And any chances for our children to own farms.

              The land is over-farmed as it is. Our economy is overly dependent on farming. The environment is being polluted by farming. Our waterways are being diverted by farming. And I hate to burst your romantic nostalgic bubble, but unless inherited, only the rich or large corporates can afford to buy farms these days anyway – regardless of foreign sales. Any chances of anybody’s children owning (a suggestively capitalist word) farms is unlikely in the first place.

              • Colonial Viper

                Non-productive and mismanaged land is hardly injecting capital into the economy anyway.

                Surely it has occurred to you that better farm systems and farm management (perhaps along the lines of statutory farm managers) would be a suitable answer. Not something random like hawking off the land to whoever overseas.

                • Populuxe1

                  Which still doesn’t respond to my issue regarding New Zealand being overly dependent on farming in the first place. However, better farm systems and farm management still require large amounts of capital to establish, and on a basic figures basis I can’t see that it’s cost effective.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    However better farm systems and farm management still require large amounts of capital to establish, and on a basic figures basis I can’t see that it’s cots effective.

                    Nah. Small low interest loans of <$50,000 from the government would do it, as well as statutory empowered farm advisors and managers.

                    Which still doesn’t respond to my issue regarding New Zealand being overly dependent on farming in the first place.

                    Yes we are. Getting rid of farming won’t solve that as we need a 10 year transition plan where we use our current strengths and resources from farming to move in a new direction.

                  • Which still doesn’t respond to my issue regarding New Zealand being overly dependent on farming in the first place.

                    Rubbish.

                    With the world’s population now past 7 billion, and estimated to reach 9 billion by 2050, demand for food and clean water will be the new “oil industry” of the mid-21st century.

                    People have to eat. And 9 billion mouths eat a helluva lot.

                    That’s why agri-corps, the Chinese, etc, are buying up arable land around the planet.

                  • “Which still doesn’t respond to my issue regarding New Zealand being overly dependent on farming in the first place.”

                    Sorry, but that’s another issue entirely.

                    What do you think Shanghai Pengxin, Americans, Germans, etc, will do with their farms here – turn them into tussock land?

                    It occurs to me that you’re deflecting from the issue here: ownership. Not end-use.

                    • Populuxe1

                      I’m not deflecting, I’m raising a related issue within the context of this thread, and I already addressed this above. However, if you cannot see the relationship between end use as the a priori reason for ownership, you are a bit thick.

                    • Ross

                      Ownership isn’t the issue…you’ve admitted that if Pengxin moved their family here, you’d have no problem with foreign ownership.

              • Non-productive and mismanaged land is hardly injecting capital into the economy anyway.

                So? You’re assuming other NZ farmers can’t manage the farms better than Crafar did?

                The land is over-farmed as it is. Our economy is overly dependent on farming. The environment is being polluted by farming. Our waterways are being diverted by farming

                None of that makes any sense or relevance to this issue.

                And I hate to burst your romantic nostalgic bubble, but unless inherited, only the rich or large corporates can afford to buy farms these days anyway – regardless of foreign sales.

                No “bubble burst”. I’m fully aware that since our finance sector was de-regulated, in the 1980s, we’ve had an influx of money that has allowed property prices to over-inflate, and not be constrained by local ability to meet prices. The same has happened with residential property prices.

                Which is why a capital gains tax would’ve been a good start to constrain speculation in farmland. I’d toss in a Financial Transactions Tax as well.

                The speculatrive property market is one of the least productive; worst mis-use of capital; and most economically damaging activity in this country. Christ, even cannabis growers have more to contribute.

                Any chances of anybody’s children owning (a suggestively capitalist word) farms is unlikely in the first place.

                1. Nothing wrong with capitalism – if it works for the benefit of people and communities – democratically, and not against them. (In my ‘umble opinion.)

                2. The chances of our children owning property becomes harder to achieve if they have to bid against Americans, Germans, Swiss, etc, who have access to far more capital than we do. If Fay couldn’t outbid Shanghai Pengxin, then ordinary kiwis certainly couldn’t.

                None of the reasons you gave mitigate allowing offshore investors to buy our productive farmbase. Instead, it’s either a surrender to economic forces we cannot hope to contain – or unhelpful cynicism.

                • Populuxe1

                  The land is over-farmed as it is. Our economy is overly dependent on farming. The environment is being polluted by farming. Our waterways are being diverted by farming
                  None of that makes any sense or relevance to this issue.

                  Of course it’s relevant. Why cling to farming at all when it makes our economy very vulnerable and monocultural? Apparently that’s the only use that land can be put to. Admittedly Chinese owners are unlikely to do anything to prevent destruction of our waterways and excess methane production, but it underscores my resistance to wide-scale farming in the first place.
                  Cynicism is often more productive than fantasising, and what evidence do you have that the Crafar farms are “productive farmbase”. We’re mostly all townies talking to townies from a towny perspective – but by all means play Farmer Brown if it makes you happy. I find nationalist sentiment tedious.
                  By the way, where do the profits from Fonterra’s Chinese farms end up?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Why cling to farming at all when it makes our economy very vulnerable and monocultural?

                    You’re being ridiculous.

                    In the current environment medium and large scale agribusiness is absolutely required for both the NZ financial and social economy.

                    NZ has been incapable of enacting an effective 10 year transition plan to more advanced highly value added goods/services but even if we are able to sometime in the near future, farming will continue to be a cornerstone of our economy.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Ridiculous? A transition has to begin somewhere.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Just to be clear, you glorious vision is that we all become serfs in some giant collective food machine. So when peak oil really kicks in and all of our primary markets retrench to sources geographically closer to them, we’ll be left sitting on our piles of cowshit counting magic beans, or occasionally rafting to Australia crying “baksheesh, baksheesh, please buy our buitter”. This is of course presuming global warming hasn’t done something horrendous to our climate that renders it unsuitable for farming, or even turns Siberia into the foodbasket of the world.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      You’re funny. You haven’t even considered that per hectare farm productivity will plummet without those very same high energy inputs that you mention.

                    • Populuxe1

                      You’re funny. You haven’t even considered that per hectare farm productivity will plummet without those very same high energy inputs that you mention.

                      Yeah CV – I’d call that an own goal on your part. So by your own admission becoming the world’s food factory in the face of peak oil is a stoopid stoopid idea

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Yeah CV – I’d call that an own goal on your part. So by your own admission becoming the world’s food factory in the face of peak oil is a stoopid stoopid idea

                      Guffffffaww.

                      Populuxe you are a two dimensional short term thinker. I originally wrote something less kind but the above is more informative.

                      We must not get rid of those farms. MUST NOT. Your suggestion is self destructive in the long run!

                      Those farms are needed for OUR survival and the survival of OUR FAMILIES in the future. If we get rid of farms now we’ll have NOTHING in 10-15 years time.

                      The farms today EXPORT a very large share of their production but in future when productivity drops significantly most of their production will go to feeding the LOCAL market.

                    • Populuxe1

                      The farms today EXPORT a very large share of their production but in future when productivity drops significantly most of their production will go to feeding the LOCAL market.

                      You get that from negative population growth?

                  • You still haven’t addressed the question I posed you; what do you think that offshore investors will do with farmland they buy?

                    They’re not buying it to return it to native bush.

                    • “Ridiculous? A transition has to begin somewhere.”

                      “Transition” to what?

                      And how will you be getting offshore investors to “transition” from farming to —?

                    • Populuxe1

                      Yes Frank, obviously they’re not – I’m against excessive farming of the land full stop, which makes who owns it a moot point from that point of view.
                      I am not against regulated foreign ownership of New Zealand land, I’d just rather there were fewer farms.

                  • “…but it underscores my resistance to wide-scale farming in the first place.”

                    What does your personal “resistance to “…but it underscores my resistance to wide-scale farming in the first place.” have to do with this issue?

                    You’re inserting your own agenda into this issue. Your views on “wide-scale farming” are another discussion entirely.

                    As I pointed out, offshore investors will not be returning their farms to tussockland or native bush any time soon. Feel free to ask them, though.

                    We’re mostly all townies talking to townies from a towny perspective – but by all means play Farmer Brown if it makes you happy. I find nationalist sentiment tedious.

                    So why are you posting on such a prodigious scale if you find this “tedious”? Why are you (mis-)using environmental concerns to push your pro-sale agenda?

                    By the way, where do the profits from Fonterra’s Chinese farms end up?

                    Deflecting, again?

                    What China does on their territory, with their farming policy, is their business. But you can bet your last dollar that it is profitable for them. Especially to be associated with a New Zealand company.

                    Why don’t you ask the more pertinent question; where do the profits from foreign-owned farms in NZ end up?

                    • Populuxe1

                       
                      What does your personal “resistance to “…but it underscores my resistance to wide-scale farming in the first place.” have to do with this issue?
                      What does your status as the children of immigrants have to do with this issue? Or the status of Maori? Or many other things. Tangents are hardly unusual on this blog, and it enriches the discussion.
                       
                       
                       

                      So why are you posting on such a prodigious scale if you find this “tedious”? Why are you (mis-)using environmental concerns to push your pro-sale agenda?

                      I’m not “pro-sale”, I’m ambivalent, and I am hardly prodigious, though I do get provoked by stupid arguments and hypocrasy.
                       
                       
                      What China does on their territory, with their farming policy, is their business. But you can bet your last dollar that it is profitable for them. Especially to be associated with a New Zealand company.
                       
                      Why don’t you ask the more pertinent question; where do the profits from foreign-owned farms in NZ end up?
                      Because it illustrates the hypocrasy of certain viewpoints.

                      [If you are going to requote portions from other commenters (which is often a good idea), it's helpful and a convention to italicise them. Check out this page for more info on using html formatting codes. ..>RL]

                      [lprent: Or use blockquote <blockquote>the text</blockquote>
                      Or just use the the wsiwyg edit option below the comment box. That isn't perfect but does write the HTML for you. ]

                  • Neoleftie

                    The diversity within your broad term of farming is staggering. From high fibre returns on possums to orchids to Japan overnight.
                    Our farming sector as a whole and segmented is arguable the most diverse, efficient and and at the forefront of modern practices world wide.
                    We are as a nation blessed with huge productive land, stable weather patterns and water.
                    As CV states very we well positioned strategically to respond to the increased demands of our primary products in the coming decades.
                    Point one..productive land is just that land and can be modified adapted quickly and cheaply to produce any range of in demand products. At this stage dairy products are a growth industry.
                    Next point. Why not utilise all our farm land?
                    Also as long as we have a balance between input resources such as water and output that is regulated and balanced we must as a nation expand our core sectors.
                    We need exports and more of them to afford andalusia for all the imports we cannot and will never produce.
                    I agree that we should be exploring secondary production more but that’s the fault of weak and lazy private sector.

                • Ross

                  “If Fay couldn’t outbid Shanghai Pengxin, then ordinary kiwis certainly couldn’t.”

                  You’re beginning to sound as shrill as O’Sullivan. Who said Fay couldn’t outbid Pengxin? He may well have been able to but chose not to. The fact remains that the receivers rejected the Fay bid because it was too low. That’s not surprising given the debts that are owing on the farms.

        • Draco T Bastard 24.1.1.2

          And it seems most of you fuckers are economically illiterate.

          No, I know economics quite well. It’s why I keep saying that economists (and the politicians and RWNJs that listen to them) wouldn’t know an economy if they tripped over one.

          • Frank Macskasy 24.1.1.2.1

            Indeed, Draco.

            As a matter of fact – because we’re aware of the economics of this matter, is precisely why Maurice Williamson deflected the issue to racism. He knew damn well that the Right can’t win the economics debate.

        • dan the hand 24.1.1.3

          Exactly!!!

          The authors here know they being racist they just hate it being pointed out to them!

          Ironically though they often refer to China as an example of how socialism ‘works’…

          [lprent: Back again? Obviously you haven't read the policy since the last handle I banned you under.

          Your first statement is trying to put words into the mouths of authors. That is not permitted. If they didn't write it and you can't point to it, then you can't use it. That is because it is a classic flamer technique.

          Your second is also incorrect. I can't recall author ever saying that, nor for that matter any commentator. You didn't provide a link.

          Adding you to permanent spam as being a dumb troll who appears to be too thick to do more than make dumb assertions and waste my moderating time. ]

          • Carol 24.1.1.3.1

            dth,…. hahahahaha…
            Try looking at what people here ACTUALLY write, rather than just making things up.

            Evidence? Links to support your claims? How you know what the authors think is beyond me. Do you have super powers?

            There’s been plenty of discussions of socialism on ths site. Try checking them out.

      • Wayne 24.1.2

        Figures released by the Overseas Investment Office show that of the 872,313 hectares of gross land sold to foreign interests over the past five years, only 223 ha were sold to Chinese

        People from the landlocked principality of Liechtenstein had purchased 10 times more land than the Chinese – 2,144ha in the same period.

        You have to be a resident to buy land in Liechtenstein:

        http://tinyurl.com/8abrlt2

        You guys employ some sort of 90-10 rule eh?

        90% of the outrage against 10% of the land sales.

        • RedLogix 24.1.2.1

          only 223 ha were sold to Chinese

          The Crafar farm purchase is 8000ha.

          • Ross 24.1.2.1.1

            …which is a drop in the ocean compared with the amount of land which is farmed here.

            • RedLogix 24.1.2.1.1.1

              About 14.1m ha of land is farmed in this country. (Someone linked to the NZ Stats site on this a while back).

              Of this around 50-60% can be considered marginal hill country. That leaves about 6m ha of what can be called valuable arable farmland.

              So far we know around 800,000ha of farmland has been sold, although what proportions of it is marginal and arable is probably hard to determine.

              But from these numbers it’s apparent that depending on exactly how you define things, some 5-10% of the land that actually matters has already been alienated. That’s not a drop in the ocean.

            • Frank Macskasy 24.1.2.1.1.2

              … and several drops can soon turn to puddles and then to streams and then to lakes.

            • Frank Macskasy 24.1.2.1.1.3

              Ross – why are you, Wayne, and others so keen to see farmland sold to offshore investors?

              Wouldn’t you agree that it makes more sense to have land owned locally so the profits remain in NZ, rather than repatriated overseas, that serves no useful purpose for our Current Account?

              • Ross

                Frank,

                I’m not sure where I’ve said that I’m keen to see farmland sold to overseas buyers. I’m happy to see stricter rules in place if that’s deemed necessary. But I’m not keen to see rules (whatever they may be) applied unequally, due to potentially racist attitutudes or other factors. The OIO made a similar point wrt the Crafar sale.

                • Colonial Viper

                  You’re an advocate for the loss of NZ sovereignty.

                  You’re working the racist line and deflecting from the critical issues of economic sovereignty and control of our country.

                  Frankly with NZers like you voting for double dipping treasonous shits like the NATs, we will go down the drain as a country, with more profits being expatriated to foreign shareholders and unstustainable balance of payment losses accelerating our national debt burden.

                  • Ross

                    You couldn’t be more wrong. I’ll say it again: I’m happy to see stricter rules in place. Have you seen Chris Trotter’s comments on the issue? I guess you’ll be calling him a Nat supporter and a traitor because he has the temerity, like me, to question Shearer.

                    “Had the application from Shanghai Pengxin been declined by the Overseas Investment Office that decision would almost certainly have been challenged in a New Zealand court. And rightly so. We’d have broken our own rules.

                    It was all the more perplexing, then, to hear Opposition leader David Shearer declaring his and the Labour Party’s opposition to the sale. It’s simply inconceivable that Mr Shearer is unaware of the MFN prohibition against denying China the same right to buy land as the nations that bought upwards of 650,000 hectares of our national patrimony exercised when Helen Clark was Prime Minister, and Mr Shearer’s friend (and former boss) Phil Goff was the Minister of Trade.

                    To avoid the inevitable charges of rank hypocrisy and populist opportunism, Mr Shearer needed to accompany his statement opposing the sale with an announcement that Labour was committed, immediately on regaining office, to repudiating the New Zealand-China FTA and tightening up the legislation regulating overseas investment.

                    I’m still waiting for those other shoes to drop. And, frankly, I think I’ll go on waiting. Why? Because I simply don’t believe Labour is about to abandon its long-standing commitment to free trade.”

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Just noise mate, you’re a supporter of the loss of NZ generated profits and resources overseas to foreign shareholders, you and the rest of your neoliberal mates.

                    • RedLogix

                      It’s simply inconceivable that Mr Shearer is unaware of the MFN prohibition against denying China the same right to buy land

                      On that point you are completely wrong. And so is John Key. You might want to read this from David Parker:

                      A claim by Prime Minister John Key and Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson — that National had to allow the sale of the Crafar farms to Chinese interests because of the NZ/China free trade agreement which Labour had negotiated — is plainly wrong, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker.

                      “I was in the cabinet that approved the signing of the agreement, the negotiations for which were led by Phil Goff,” David Parker said. “I was Minister of Land Information at the time and recall specifically checking at the Cabinet Policy Committee that New Zealand’s ability to control land sales was not overruled by the terms of the FTA.

                      “The Cabinet Committee delayed its approval while that assurance was sought and given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

                      “Subsequently, after the agreement had come into force and the effect of the FTA on land sales was again in the news, I checked with a senior trade official, who confirmed that the relevant clause 138 does not change New Zealand’s ability to turn down applications for land sales,” David Parker said.

                      “The effect of the clause is that if an investment in land is allowed, then after the investment the Chinese investor must be treated in the same way as a New Zealand investor. In other words, after an investment is made we cannot prejudice the Chinese investor in relation to New Zealand investors, for example by applying different tax rates.

                      “The FTA does not mean that China or New Zealand gave up control of investments in their countries,” David Parker said. “China certainly did not cede that right and neither did we. Mr English confirmed that this is his also understanding in Parliament during question time on 25 March 2010.

                      “Another assertion that the ‘most favoured nation’ clause prevents control of land sales is also incorrect. The effect of that clause is that it would be wrong for New Zealand to drop controls on the sale of land to, say, US interests but leave them in place for China. Mr Williamson had the right to decline to consent to the sale of the Crafar Farms and should take responsibility for his wrong-headed decision,” David Parker said.

                      “If the minister is now saying that National has slipped through some change to the effect of the FTA, he should explain.

                      “That the minister responsible for protecting New Zealand’s interests does not properly understand his portfolio is of serious concern. Labour is opposed to rural land sales to overseas buyers. We are not singling out China and have criticised sales to German, US, Chinese and other foreign investors.”

                      It’s a serious point and I’ve quoted it in whole just this once.

            • Ed 24.1.2.1.1.4

              It is a fairly large sale by New Zealand standards, and as mentioned above it is unusual for 16 farms to be sold as one lot. There has been little criticism of the receivers for selling in this way – it appears to have deliberately favoured large investors; the Fay-led bid was as I understand it effectively a consortium that would have split the purchase fairly quickly into smaller parcels. Having only three serious bidders is hardly an exuberant demonstration of the effectiveness of the ‘free market”.

              I was surprised that Crafar did not object – but perhaps he did and was over-ruled.

        • nadis 24.1.2.2

          Lichenstein is a conduit jurisdiction. The legal entity doing the buying (typically a vehicle set up to own assets on behalf of investors) is incorprorated in Lichenstein purely for taxation reasons. The beneficial owners almost certainly do not come from Lichenstein.

          I’d rather sell to a chinese corporate than to Michael Fay. There is more chance of the chinese corproate behaving in a moral and socially acceptable manner than our own (oops I mean zug based tax exile) robber baron. Mind you, on a digression Zug is a very good example of what can be achieved if your main export is low tax rates.

          • eljaydee 24.1.2.2.1

            Nadis, I believe we should be concerned about legal entities, based in Lichtenstein buying up farming land in New Zealand. Lichtenstein is a well know tax haven. I hope that the sales to these companies have adequately protected taxes that should be payable in New Zealand.

            • nadis 24.1.2.2.1.1

              any activity in nz will be taxable in nz. the tax haven bit is about potentially shielding taxpayers from taxes in their own countries.

              • eljaydee

                Nadis,
                I theory you are correct, however the reality can be different. While harder than in the ’80s when Alan Bond and Christopher Skase made a killing with this practice, it is still possible to use Management and service fees, IP licensing and loan manipulations to move the profit out of the taxable subsidiary to the untaxed parent.

  25. Wayne 25

    Or as O’Sullivan with her insider knowledge stated that Pengxin regarded the Crafar purchase as a ‘toehold’… means nothing?

    Obviously if we allowed them they would buy all they want if they could make a profit. Just as would be the case with any other investor of any other nationality.

    New Zealand can stop land sales at any time……the point is under the FTA Chinese investment is treated equally with investment from Western sources. Not that NZ land has to be available for sale.

    But why worry about the chinese ‘toehold’ when the American’s already have two whole ‘footholds’?

    Really, where are your posts screaming ‘hegemony’, ‘strategic resources’ blah blah blah when Harvard bought up heaps of forestry land, and a dairy farm.

    [lprent: already asked and answered - which you did not deal with. Do not start avoiding dealing with replies. I take a very dim view of that form of trolling. The site is there for debate - not for mindlessly repeating other people's lines. Read the policy and never repeat the tactic on one of my posts. You just had your warning. ]

    And it seems the Americans are turning over a damn good profit as well:
    http://www.interest.co.nz/rural-news/56288/businessdesk-harvard-reports-good-return-nz-forest-investments

    So where are the comparable posts at a comparable level of hysteria over the much larger US holdings?????

    Can you please link to these? If you cannot, why not?

    Imagine if it was not Americans and Europeans who owned hundreds of thousands of hectares of agricultural land, the vast majority of foreign held agricultural land, but the Chinese.

    Based on the hysterical shriekings of commentator on this blog, Chinese and Asians would probably be getting lynched in the streets.

    • fender 25.1

      “Based on the hysterical shriekings of commentator on this blog, Chinese and Asians would probably be getting lynched in the streets.”

      Borrowing the kkk slant from that nasty Fran there Wayne.
      Trying to inflame the issue into a race one is sick and irresponsible and in using it underlines your own racist tendencies, and from a guy who only the other day claimed only art from the USSR was of worth and the rest was crap.

      It’s time to tighten the laws like English said he was going to, but like his boss he forgot who he’s working for. Like section 9 he’s forgetting what team he’s on in his rush to score another handshake on his quest for foreign adulation.

    • RedLogix 25.2

      So where are the comparable posts at a comparable level of hysteria over the much larger US holdings?????

      Already answered.

    • New Zealand can stop land sales at any time……the point is under the FTA Chinese investment is treated equally with investment from Western sources. Not that NZ land has to be available for sale.

      Incorrect.


      “New Zealand can stop land sales at any time……the point is under the FTA Chinese investment is treated equally with investment from LOCAL sources.”

      In other words, a country with an FTA with NZ, such as the one with China and Australia, must be treated on an “equal footing” with local New Zealand individuals and businesses.

      “Not that NZ land has to be available for sale.”

      ???

    • So where are the comparable posts at a comparable level of hysteria over the much larger US holdings?????

      Can you please link to these? If you cannot, why not?

      Imagine if it was not Americans and Europeans who owned hundreds of thousands of hectares of agricultural land, the vast majority of foreign held agricultural land, but the Chinese.

      Based on the hysterical shriekings of commentator on this blog, Chinese and Asians would probably be getting lynched in the streets.

      Ok, here I go again, reposting these links for the fourth of fifth time.

      For your attention, Wayne:

      “Protesters march for landmark”
      - http://tvnz.co.nz/view/news_national_story_skin/117876

      “Kiwi anger over Twain land sale”
      - http://articles.cnn.com/2004-09-16/world/newzealand.property_1_public-access-south-island-land-prices?_s=PM:WORLD

    • “Based on the hysterical shriekings of commentator on this blog, Chinese and Asians would probably be getting lynched in the streets.”

      Are you aware of how hystical/shrill you’re coming across, Wayne?

  26. Ross 26

    What exactly is Labour’s position on land sales to foreigners? Chris Trotter recently criticised David Shearer over this issue. Does Labour want to change the Overseas Investment Act and/or the FTA with China?

    • RedLogix 26.1

      As far as I am aware the policy is a default no on any land over 5ha.

      This doesn’t close the door, but raises the bar far higher.

    • Colonial Viper 26.2

      Labour would give the OIO far more grounds on which to decline land sales, fewer grounds to approve land sales, and give the Minister increased powers to refuse land sales. All focusing on land 5 ha. in area and above.

      Primarily any land sale to be approve must bring new technology, jobs and capital investment to NZ which creates productive capacity was not here before.

      This was policy in 2011 announced well before the election.

      • Wayne 26.2.1

        But would it have stopped this one particular sale?

        The rules that apply are the rules which were in place at the time the application was made.

        So I doubt a Labour govt could have, or would have stopped this sale.

        And even if they could, I hardly think they would have chosen to shift the goalposts just before the Chinese make their first bid, after hundreds of thousands of hectares have already gone to other foreigners.

        To the Chinese that would have been transparent racism. And would have affected trade.

        Best to apply the new policy when the next big US corporate comes around.

        • Ross 26.2.1.1

          I tend to agree that this sale probably wouldn’t have been stopped under Labour, which suggests that Shearer’s recent comments were merely his opinion and were inconsistent with Labour’s policy. He needs to stop giving us his opinion and start giving us details of Labour’s policy. Here’s some questions he might like to answer:

          What changes (if any) will Labour make to the Overseas Investment Act and the OIO?

          What changes (if any) will Labour make to the FTA with China?

          What criteria will Labour use to decline the sale of sensitive land?

          Will the same criteria be used for local and overseas buyers?

          Will the relevant Minister make public the reason(s) for refusing to allow the sale of sensitive land, or will the process be secret and non-transparent?

          • Colonial Viper 26.2.1.1.1

            Why does Shearer need to release all this detail right now? Even if he did, what difference would it make to National who have already decided what they will do?

            Labour policy from 2011 is quite clear – no land sales over 5 ha. is the default decision. The specifics would have been hammered out with specific ministeries and advisors had they won in November.

            • Ross 26.2.1.1.1.1

              Shearer is talking about the issue right now. I have no idea whether he is giving us his personal opinion. That isn’t a good look. Further, he hasn’t explained what Labour would do differently if elected. I hope that Labour does release its policy sooner rather than later.

              • Colonial Viper

                If Shearer opens his mouth in public then he is speaking as Leader of the Opposition. He’s not speaking as your mate or as Joe Six Pack in the pub.

                Does that make it clear to you, buddy?

                Further, he hasn’t explained what Labour would do differently if elected. I hope that Labour does release its policy sooner rather than later.

                Next election is in 33 months time.

                I’ve never heard of anyone asking for election policy to be released that early. A few things have to play out between now and then, if you didn’t realise.

                • Ross

                  No, it doesn’t make it clear at all! His comments are inconsistent with Labour’s policy at the last election. So, either he’s giving us his personal opinion or Labour’s policy has changed. Which one is it?

                  • Hmmm, Josie Pagani was asked that questiion and she replied with a smile and a comment, “watch this space”.

                    It will be interesting to see how Labour addresses this critical issue – or else face losing more votes to the Greens, Mana, and NZ first.

      • Ross 26.2.2

        I know Labour’s policy was released prior to 2011 but I am asking about its current policy. Further, it’s policy last year was somewhat vague:

        “Currently the rules on overseas investment in farm land have been applied to favour
        approval of sales. Labour will reverse this. Instead of the overwhelming majority of farm
        sales being approved, the overwhelming majority will be declined.

        Sales will be declined unless the overseas purchaser of farm or forestry land will also
        invest in significant further processing of related primary products and related jobs. The
        investment in further processing can be either new products or extra capacity for existing
        products where extra capacity is needed. In either case the purchaser must prove that
        such capacity would be unlikely to be provided by the existing New Zealand industry”

        I note that there is no requirement for foreign buyers to live here or to be NZ residents. Approval for foreign ownership appears to be at the whim of the relevant Minister.

        • Colonial Viper 26.2.2.1

          I know Labour’s policy was released prior to 2011 but I am asking about its current policy. Further, it’s policy last year was somewhat vague:

          Labour’s policy platform for 2011 stands until it is officially revised and re-released. Land sales over 5 ha. get a default no.

          Its policy last year was clear in its overarching approach and model – the details did need to be developed and worked out with individual ministeries when in Government.

          Note that National released fuck all policy detail last year – mostly unsubstantiable one liners.

          • Ross 26.2.2.1.1

            That’s not what Labour’s election policy says. Where does it say that land sales over 5ha get a default no? I’ll repeat what I said earlier. If Labour wants to tighten the criteria for land sales to foreigners, that’s fine, but some specifics would be great.

            • Colonial Viper 26.2.2.1.1.1

              Ross don’t be a dip shit. I gave you an answer, a default no on land sales over 5 ha. is what Goff said at Labour Congress last year, the full media was there, do your own research.

              • Ross

                Don’t get abusive…I’m quoting from Labour’s election policy on froeign investment which is available online. There is no mention of a default no. There is also no mention of foreign buyers having to reside here. The policy does say that foreign ownership is a privilege, not a right.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Meh. Where’s your link. This is from Goff in 2010:

                  Today you have my commitment that Labour will turn the rules on selling land to foreigners on their head.

                  We’ll guarantee that New Zealand’s interests are put first.

                  We will reverse the presumption that any foreign purchase of our rural land is good for New Zealand.

                  This will mean that rather than most applications from foreign buyers going through, most will be turned down.

                  Buyers will have to prove that selling land to them will be good for our economy.

                  We will force would-be buyers of New Zealand rural land to invest in New Zealand and our people by bringing jobs, transferring technology, increasing exports or bringing other benefits for New Zealand.

                  These rules will apply to sales of rural land over 5 hectares.

                  http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1010/S00278/phil-goff-speech-to-labour-party-conference-2010.htm

            • Frank Macskasy 26.2.2.1.1.2

              By the way, considering that Labour isn’t in government – why the focus on that Party?

              The government is currently John Key-led National. Responsibility on this issue currently resides with them.

              • Ross

                That’s a cop out, Frank. Aren’t you criticising National? Isn’t David Shearer crticising the government too? If you’re going to criticise, you need to come up with something better and it should be consistent. Shearer opposed the purchase by James Cameron until he learnt that Cameron was going to be living here. Then he agreed with the decision to allow Cameron to buy land. The only problem is that Labour’s policy from the last election doesn’t refer to foreigners who live here or not! Their policy made no distinction. So, either Labour’s policy has suddenly changed, or Shearer is making it up as he goes along.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Aren’t you criticising National? Isn’t David Shearer crticising the government too? If you’re going to criticise, you need to come up with something better and it should be consistent.

                  Uh…the Government proposes and the Opposition opposes…that’s the way it goes mate.

                  So, either Labour’s policy has suddenly changed, or Shearer is making it up as he goes along.

                  you’ll note that it’s Key making it up as he goes along re: Section 9 and the Treaty of Waitangi.

                  Pretty shit and two faced for a guy who turns up to Waitangi and claims to respect the Treaty.

                • “That’s a cop out, Frank. Aren’t you criticising National?”

                  When Labour was in power, I made my views fully know to them on this issue.I’m criticising National because they are in government.

                  The right are supposedly Big on taking responsibility? In fact, the Right always ram the concept of “taking responsibuility” down our throats.

                  So why shouldn’t National be responsible for events transpiring on their watch? Is that too much to ask, is it?

  27. Neoleftie 27

    Jeeze can’t you guy like do research on topics before you post….have informed opinions not just opinions….as CV states goff stated a policy in 2010 which I take is still valid under shearer but also the disclaimer is if you reside here in new Zealand then basically you are contributing to our society so that one matter that is acceptable to labour nor shearer. The line is when foreign owned entities purchase land or other stragically defined resources or companies then that’s the defining line for labour.
    Tories are whores to the highest bidder market driven by ideology whilst labour basic definition is about people and societal members contributing.
    Next…

  28. John Drinnan 28

    I did not mean legally accountable
    I meant accountable to your readers and to the people your readers/contributor criticise or attack.
    Your correspondents make personal attacks but personally – in the real world – don’t have to front up. It allows them to be false and to make comments that are stronger or more extroverted than they really are – as result the strongly worded rants mean less when they are anonymous.

    • McFlock 28.1

      Translation: if I use my real name and upset a nutbar on the internet, they might hunt me down and “hold me accountable”.
        
      Fuck that.
         
      Dude, it’s the internet. Deal with it. Don’t take it personally, fine. But if someone says something logical, or provides new and verifiable information, that’s a bonus whether you read it from someone with a pseudonym or if some guy told you in a pub. If I said 23 + 55 = 78, it doesn’t matter if I use my own name or call myself Jackie Chan. Now take that as an analogy and extrapolate from it.

    • Colonial Viper 28.2

      Oh John you sensitive thing if you don’t like the heat of the blogs, stay out of the internet.

    • Bunji 28.3

      Where in the real world do you have to front up? I’m unlikely to bump into Fran to be able to ask her to justify why she thinks I’m a xenophobe or a member of the internet equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan, just because I happen to write on this site.

      I’m far more likely to get a chance to challenge her on the internet, which is where everyone is free to challenge me as well. And as lprent says – legally we’re in the same space too.

    • lprent 28.4

      Our readers will have a go at us pretty damn fast whenever we walk over the line. They glory in it. They aren’t allowed to attack authors directly here (I want to keep authors) but can cut into their ideas and arguments. If they don’t do it here, then they will make their views known somewhere. In Fran’s case she did it on the main metropolitan newspaper for NZ. It was a useful link for us, even my old man commented on it today. :twisted:

      As an observation I think you have a rather skewed idea about how people operate these days with the net around. Touching the flesh may be the norm in the conservative politicians community, but it is getting increasingly rare elsewhere.

      A decade ago, I collaborated on open code with people I have never met or talked to in Canada, organized support centres in Boston and trained the staff there without leaving my living room, and developed an entire software suite bossing a team of programmers where we only met once a month – and that was mostly for the sales staff and bosses. then it was bleeding edge. Now it is the norm.

      These days at work, we’re organizing complete supply chains remotely and getting boards made from diagrams shunted halfway across the world. Code from my machine appears on machines on the other side of the world where another programmer checks it. Our sales people spend as much time looking a ou net profile as they do with the distribution chain.

      My partner keeps track of her documentary with her director in Florida, sales partially in the UK, some in the US, a seperate distribution chain in the US supplied from Taiwan (I think), and a continuing saga of prints in various formats floating around festivals worldwide. She does it from her Mac. And she has a full time paying job as well.

      One of my unpaid projects is the standard. It is a online collaborative coop, a more and more common organizational method. We don’t have to meet to work together. We don’t even have that much of a formal structure. What we do have is because we started to take in money from ads to pay for the servers and had to have something for the IRD to understand. I’m winding down several other similar volunteer projects primarily because there is some software I want to write next year on open source,rathert han the closed source stuff I have been doing.

      Who really has time to meet in the flesh? That is pretty much reserved for socialising. Organising happens via the net. I happened to met RedLogix once when he came up to Auckland in 2009. I had to email him last month and it was the first time I had done that in more than a year. It as a good thing I mentioned it online, as the whole address was routed automatically to spam. But I think that I am the only other author he has met.

      We recruited him by reading his comments, thinking that he can write, and has an interesting viewpoint. Asked him if he wanted a login. He had an interesting mix of green/red/science/engineering views with an interesting dash of conservatism that was different to any other author. It was rather hilarious seeing Fran labelling him as Labour. My guess would be that he’d vote for them only if there were no other choice apart from National or Act.

      I have no idea where Fran lives and works. I also have no real interest. I have seen her many times hanging around at Labour conferences but never spoken to her. She wasn’t useful for the types of things that I did in Labour. I have been reading her writing since sometime in the 80′s and generally have respected that for the detail while usually thinking that she was somewhat blinkered – especially when she was writing at the NBR.

      If she wanted to talk to me to complain about something, then it is easy. Facebook has chat and she was on my list last time I looked. Otherwise, she has replied by email to me in the
      past. From her style, I guess she has been on both Whales and Farrars sites. They have my details and have published them a few times.

      It isn’t exactly hard to get hold of someone on the net if you want to. Posting her greivance just got treated exactly the same way that many other similar attacks from any other blogger have in the past. It gets a response, sometimes from me and I tend to say exactly what I think. Otherwise the memes being used in the attack start spreading and getting irritating flamewars starting in comments.

      One common meme is that strange objection to psuedonyms. The problem is that you are trying to apply a newspaper type ideal (seldom lived up to in the history of the press) to a net culture that has used psuedonyms for at least the 30 years of my adult life. It really isn’t hard to figure out which culture will prevail based on last events.

      True anonymity is pretty hard to get in the net and you have to work at it with ssh, Tor, astrill or the like. In most places there are system people protecting their systems and they tend to view anonymity with little nostalgia. If asked then they will usually deal with anonymous attacks – mostly in a draconian way. We don’t allow much anonymity on the standard. I have the system informing me on people who do use it. There are few places so anarchistic that there is true anonymity.

      Your objection is actually to psuedonyms and mostly on moderated sites. The anarchistic sites don’t grow large enough to matter. Generally the system operators on any major site will either know who those people are or know how to know who they are. They aren’t anonymous. The issue for the aggrieved is usually to convince the operators that there is something wrong.

      If they think something needs fixing then it happens fast. Otherwise you find it is pissing into the wind. They pretty well all resist attempts to change the net cultures without some very very good reasons. Even then backup sites are pretty easy to have sitting warm.

  29. RedLogix 29

    John,

    The incomprehension here is palpable. Social media on the net while similar to what you do professionally is also quite different.

    You are paid to be a professional, you are paid to uphold some ethical standards, you are paid to get facts correct… mostly because the media you are accumstomed to was traditionally one way. You wrote something, it got published… and maybe apart from a few letters to the editor you didn’t get much in the way of feedback. You certainly felt little obligation to justify what you had written or defend it in public…because you believed your professional status meant you were largely exempt from that. And if you had done a good job, most people most of the time were happy to accept that position.

    The exact opposite applies here. Online my RedLogix identity has been here at The Standard for almost four years. It’s taken part in literally thousands of conversations and in a very real sense has a life of it’s own. My credibility is based not on who I am, but on how well (or otherwise) I make my case.

    If someone thinks I am wrong (and that’s happened plenty of times), then usually someone will let me know within minutes. If they can produce references and a decent argument to support what they are saying.. most times we’ll converge on a consensus of sorts. That’s how accountability works here.

    As for the ‘coward’ argument.. it’s a hollow one. Sure some people misuse the relative anonyminity of a pseudomym to be grossly offensive and abusive. Few are lily-pure in that respect, but in general most people also learn fairly quickly that is usually counter-productive and only resort to it when really wound up over something. That’s the immediacy of the net for you; no luxury of sub-editors to protect ourselves from ourselves around here.

    And while you may have the backing of a powerful media organisation behind you, we don’t. Most people here couldn’t afford to see a decent lawyer’s receptionist, much less actually get to a Court. Moreover many in real life are vulnerable to all sorts of threats; social, financial or even physical. We have every good reason not to tempt them into having a go.

    • James Henderson 29.1

      agreed. John Drinnan, Redlogix, James Henderson – these are all identifiers of a personality or persona, they all carry with them a reputation. If that reputation is for informed or insightful writing, then people will respect it; if not, then not.

      Does it matter which is a ‘real’ name? Does it matter that there’s someone out there called James or John, or Red? No. Does it matter what we look like? Does that affect the quality of our arguments? No.

      Now, please don’t take offence at this because it’s for illustrative purposes only: for all we know, John Drinnan isn’t John Drinnan’s real name and the picture on his articles doesn’t show his real face. Does it matter? No. The Drinnan we know and respect for his writing exists for us only in that writing. Who Drinnan is in real life is irrelevant for these purposes.

      Just as you and I have a reputation associated with our names to protect and build, so does Red. It is something Red worked to build and clearly values, and puts on the line every day in a very public forum – I don’t see the ‘cowardliness’ in that

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