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Crafarmer Fay

Written By: - Date published: 3:58 pm, September 29th, 2011 - 19 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags:

Asset sales are on the agenda before the election. Michael Fay, strangely, is leading a coalition of underbidders for the Crafar farms against a bid from China worth $300 million more. According to the Waikato Times, New Zealanders have forgotten Fay’s involvement in the toxic asset sales of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s under both Labour and National governments. That would be a pity.

The Chinese bid has to be approved by Ministers following a recommendation from the Overseas Investment Office. Following an earlier bid from another Chinese consortium which was rejected as the bidder was “not of good character”, the rules have been tightened to give Ministers more say in the case of “sensitive land”, defined as  land of more than 5 hectares. The Office investigates and makes a recommendation, and it is then up to the Ministers of Land Information, Maurice Williamson, and Finance, Bill English, to make the final decision.

The issue has become very political, not to say geopolitical. The Chinese are watching, and in the way of the Chinese, not just watching but letting people know what they think about obstacles to their investment. Fay is playing the “local” card, somewhat surprising for one who has spent the best part of ten years living in Switzerland as a tax exile. Federated Farmers supports the Fay bid.

As the Waikato Times reminded its readers, Michael Fay was heavily involved in the asset sales of the 1980s and 1990s. Getting the Bank of New Zealand, Telecom and Tranzrail on the cheap all made millions for Michael Fay and David Richwhite if not being of great benefit to New Zealand taxpayers or New Zealand infrastructure.

Fay and Richwhite were also heavy political donors, to Labour in 1987 and subsequently to the National party. They also worked very closely with Treasury in the lead-up to the sales. As he does, Fay is playing this politically, and as usual  for less than it is worth.

The last decision turning down the Crafar farm sales to a different Chinese bidder was announced on the 22nd of December 2010. The current application for the sale has been with the OIO for over five months, outside their stated time for such applications of 70 days. It would be a pity if this decision was also announced in late December.

One the other hand, as the Waikato Times says, Fay’s group could simply increase their offer and then there would be no problem.

19 comments on “Crafarmer Fay ”

  1. Policy Parrot 1

    “Sir Michael’s role in the controversial sales has been forgotten.”
    Case of Waikato Times editor interviewing their typewriter for that anecdote?
    I certainly haven’t fucking forgotten. And consider the uproar around his daughter seeking funding from NZ on Air when the Fay’s have already arguably received enough favours, I doubt whether New Zealanders more generally have forgotten either.

    • marsman 1.1

      Yes and every time I take a long distance train I think of the wonderful updated fast service we could have had if Fay and Richwhite at al had not sucked the guts out of it.

    • Ianupnorth 1.2

      You beat me to the “how come his darling Annabel got $50K from NZ on air when there are kids going hungry?”

      • Anne 1.2.1

        Which reminds me, wasn’t John Key’s daughter given a scholarship to study fashion design in Paris, even though her father was capable of financing her himself? Had he done so it would have presumably given another young woman the opportunity to study design in Paris too.

        • Lanthanide

          Depends, some ‘scholarships’ are really ‘admission to a school that will also pay some of your fees for you’. In other words you don’t get into the school at all without the scholarship, so we can’t be sure that if she hadn’t gotten the scholarship she still could have studied in the same place in Paris.

          Having said that, though, if there was anyone who could pull strings you’d think it would be a millionaire PM. That’s probably how she got the scholarship in the first place (or the school was brown-nosing), and of course Key didn’t get rich by turning down free money…

  2. tc 2

    Beware the bankers kids…..the’re not good for you or your kids health.

  3. Jum 3

    What is the Fay group intending to do with the farms?

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Sell them off (to whoever) at a profit.

      its very unlikely that Michael Fay is looking forwards to retirement as a dairy farmer eh.

      • Jum 3.1.1

        True, Colonial Viper.

        I always believed that in the hands of Landcorp they could be more valuable for youth apprenticeships – horticulture, dairying, etc.

        Or has Landcorp been sold off already?

  4. insider 4

    Think you have a rogue zero in there – pretty sure the Chinese bid is 30 mill more not 300m.

    Got to remember these farms failed under nz ownership in many ways – financially, environmentally and in animal welfare. Local is not automatically better.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Local is not automatically better.

      Whereas foreign automatically means that profits and goods are shunted outside of NZ control.

      Such an improvement. Keep campaigning against your fellow NZers though.

    • It’s actually closer to $40 million, and Crafar failed because they were over-leveraged, due to easy credit ballooning property prices in NZ.

      However, if the Chinese government wants long-term food security and isn’t interested in profits, it makes perfect sense to buy up as much arable land as possible, and not worry about cost. As I outline in my piece, http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/the-second-colonisation-of-new-zealand/

      • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1

        Yep, but there’s no way that China can get food security. They have far too many people and even by buying up fertile land in other nations they will still starve unless they militarily invade as those other nations, us included, will be using the land to support themselves once resources, especially cheap petrol-chemicals and its derivatives, become scarce over the next few years.

        • Frank Macskasy

          Interesting points, Draco.

          * China is expanding it’s naval power.

          * The US has used military power in the Middle East to protect it’s interests.

          * China is increasing it’s influence in the Pacific.

          * US influence may be at risk, as it’s economic problems threaten to cripple it.

          Anyway, I have one more piece of research to do on Shanghai Pengxin.

  5. Sanctuary 5

    The right wingers I know (who like all good right wingers think wealth is its own justification) admire Fay for taking the main chance as a corrupt mercenary and making out like a bandit then scarpering to live the life of Riley with Gnomes of Zurich. Everyone else I know thinks Fay’s name is a synonym for traitor and he should be put on trial and imprisoned.

    No one – right, centre or left – I know would trust Michael Fay with a Tip-Top icecream container holding the cake stall money.

    And using taxpayers money to inflict his daughter’s truly appalling album on us all was just the icing on the cake.

  6. HC 6

    CRAPFARMER FAY is a man of integrity, of honour, of dignity, a saviour of Aoetearoa NZ, he is a reborn nationalist, a truly compassionate and solidarious man of greatest respect, we must honour him, eventhough he once betrayed NZ. He is now a reborn Christian, seeking well being of us all. A man of true honour, a great hero, a man who made money and gave it away the next day. Do you believe all this? Then you may as well believe in Father Christmas and Mother Mary’s virgin birth. Wow, NZ is evolving, getting ahead, maturing and getting on track now. People stand for principles they never thought about, they are dignified, patriotic and will only thing of the good for all now. We do not want to sell to the Chinese, because our capitalists are so much better. Hooray!

  7. HC 7

    After having said the above a bit “tongue in Cheek”, I may honestly reveal, that never ever did I get a job paid by a NZ born and raised employer, which valued me as an employee, appreciated my skills and abilities and paid me a fair wage or salary. The first employer in NZ who ever paid me a fair and good wage or salary was actually a person from my native country who had established his own business here and saw some value in me. Thank you NZ!

  8. There’s more to this issue than meets the eye. This involves more than what we may feel about Michael Fay… http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/the-second-colonisation-of-new-zealand/

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