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Fran O’Sullivan will be distressed over Crafar decision.

Written By: - Date published: 5:36 pm, February 15th, 2012 - 64 comments
Categories: Media - Tags: , , ,

Now there is a surprise (not). The Crafar farms sale doesn’t conform to the economic benefits required under the OIO’s act. I guess that Fran O’Sullivan is going to be distressed. “Anonymous” authors here actually knew what they were talking about, and the decision by the OIO and government was not in conformance with the Overseas Investment Act.

The NZ Herald in a rare act of informational political reporting says

The High Court has effectively overturned the Government’s decision to grant Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin permission to buy the Crafar dairy farms.

Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson and Associate Finance Minister Jonathan Coleman two weeks ago signed off on the Overseas Investment Office’s recommendation that the application to buy the farms by Shanghai Pengxin’s subsidiary Milk NZ be accepted.

A consortium of rival bidders led by merchant banker Sir Michael Fay lodged an application for a judicial review of that decision.

In his decision released this afternoon Justice Forrie Miller said the application for a review was granted.

Read the full decision here.

“The ministers’ consent to overseas investment to be made by Milk NZ in the Crafar farms is set aside. I direct that the ministers reconsider Milk NZ’s application.”

Justice Miller’s decision appears based on his view that the economic benefits to New Zealand of Shanghai Pengxin’s purchase were overstated in the Overseas Investment Office’s recommendation.

Relevant legislation was intended to allow overseas investment in farm land only where that investment was likely to benefit New Zealand.

As I was pointing out when opining on Fran O’Sullivan’s ridiculous shill for the government‘s wishes, the OIO and government case didn’t look like it conformed to the requirements of the OIO’s enabling act.

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.

Fran  smeared every opponent of the Crafar farms sale to Pengxin with this  bit of ignorant bullshit

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

Ah yes, Fran could see it that way if you don’t think about the actual legislation. However anyone who had actually read the damn act and understood it could see that the decision didn’t met the requirements of the legislation.

Of course one of our authors taking strong exception to her daft smear got the usual nasty response from the governments’ favourite shill.

The Standard is reputed to have been started by a bunch of Labour Party activists. Most posters won’t sign their names to their comments because they are frightened they will be held responsible. They are frankly cowards.

I finally branded them the “Ku Klux Klan” of the internet world on Twitter. A bunch of lily-livered word jocks who hide behind their virtual cloaks of anonymity.

But I would have engaged them directly in the argument if they had signed their names.

Yeah right… She equates an author with the entire site and indulges in some gratuitous denigration and then gives a completely spurious reasoning to not answer the arguments.

In my view the reason that she didn’t engage was because the arguments she was using were at best questionable. She simply didn’t like having that pointed out to her.

Like far too many other poorly prepared and informed journalists I have seen over the years, she was far too susceptible to being spun by the government and didn’t use her frigging brain. And like many journalists she just doesn’t like being criticised in public. She didn’t “engage”  because the arguments she used in her articles were poor, not suited to the real debate that needed to happen over Crafar farms, and were just damn wrong. Look at the judge’s decision….

I’m afraid that having access to a printing press or having the ego to become a talking head for broadcast media doesn’t confer miraculous analysis powers. Many people outside of the beltway, including the many of the authors and commentators on this site, have been highly educated. Many like myself have spent large amounts of time either involved in or spent time thinking about politics.

Unlike politicians, their minons and the wannabe media egos like Farrar and Slater; most  bloggers  are just not reliant or even interested in the media goodwill. In fact most of us have jobs that have very little to do with the segregated wasteland that is the beltway that Fran and most political media types inhabit. We don’t have to pander to those fragile egos in the way that the more dependent sycophants of the political spectrum do.

Opining on politics is a small and not all that important part of our lives. That is the reason almost all political bloggers use pseudonyms especially when starting. We’re not interested in ramping up our ego’s with real world attention. Quite simply we write because we want to discuss things without the strange broadcast view of the  main stream media  talking down to readers, watchers, and listeners where we don’t get to discuss their lofty opinions. Also having vindictive arseholes attacking our lives or workplaces with extra-legal attacks because they got upset about something we said (as has happened to me) is not something that anyone enjoys.

So we use pseudonyms to stop the casual readers from treating us as if our lives depended on our blogging (the guru effect)*, and stopping the vindictively obsessed like Whaleoil and his ilk from easily stalking us (the idiot effect), and write so our opinions are just opinions and can be viewed mostly from the strength of their argument.

And the reality is that with the a few notable exceptions like Slater, almost all political bloggers act well within the legal bounds for fair comment. It is certainly what we strive for on this site. We almost certainly know the legal limits better than some puffed up media personalities with their sense of fairness and legality having atrophied from having a corporate legal team vetting their words.

Authors here and in other blog sites can and often do criticize the bloated egos of the 4th estate.  The press had better get used to it and learn from Fran’s example of things not to do in response.

 

* That is the main reason you won’t find my picture anywhere  on the net that I know of. Bad enough getting embarrassed with having peoples heads twist around at Labour party events when they hear my name. It’d be hell if I had my image plastered all over the place like Fran, DPF, and Whale. I’d never be able to sit in meetings playing mindless games  on the pad again without people getting offended by my inattention.

64 comments on “Fran O’Sullivan will be distressed over Crafar decision. ”

  1. Macro 1

    Well said.
    I actually sold a farm to a Chinese buyer a year or so back. The grass has grown – but not much else.
    Still the regenerating wetlands have been left to get on with their own thing.
    I think it’s called “land banking”.

    • Wayne 1.1

      The judge has obviously agreed that the farms will benefit. He only insists that the benefit would have happened under a New Zealand owner anyway. But the rules are the investment must benefit New Zealand. Not that the benefit must be substantially more than what would be the case had a New Zealander made the investment.

      The judge is also ignorant of the fact that the immediate benefit is of course 200 million dollars of Chinese money going in to basically buy the farms off Australian bankers. That is 200 million dollars right at the get go, that will not flow out of New Zealand. And the benefit of foreign investment is of course the fact that it is foreign—-other people bringing money into the country.

      That the judge has so obviously misinterpreted the rules as they stand means his decision will likely be overturned. The irony is the judge has basically admitted that the proposed sale will benefit NZ.

      • Matt 1.1.1

        How fortunate we are to have Wayne, the eminent legal scholar, to set those dumb judges straight.

        • Mike 1.1.1.1

          Hehehe, you beat me to it. I’m sorry to all the Waynes out there but something about some guy named Wayne calling a judge ignorant and saying the judge has obviously misinterpreted the rules just seems to make it funnier.

          I wonder how he gets from 200 mill going to Australian bankers to 200 mill staying in NZ. In actual fact the 200 mill doesn’t really physically exist Wayne, it’s just balance sheet entries enabled by a promise to pay and balanced on the balance sheet by banking sleight of hand.

          And I wonder where he gets the idea that the courts decision will likely be overturned? By whom? Key’s already stated an appeal is highly unlikely.

      • lprent 1.1.2

        Jez Wayne. Don’t you read….

        That is just money. It has a benefit to the banks but little or no actual economic benefit to NZ. In fact you just pointed that zero sum game out yourself

        You need to read the actual Overseas Investment Act or the judges decision rather than making simply crap up about your interpretation about how the Act should be interpreted using criteria that aren’t in it. If you read the Hansard debates at the time, your interpretations were never meant to be in the Act. In other words, you are just sprouting idiotic bullshit.

        There is more than enough of that meaningless speculation already in the government and their more compliant media.

      • DH 1.1.3

        “The irony is the judge has basically admitted that the proposed sale will benefit NZ.”

        It follows a simple line of reasoning, which is probably why you didn’t get it.

        A/ Foreign bidder invests $50million after purchase – benefit to NZ
        B/ Local bidder invests $55million after purchase – even bigger benefit to NZ

        Foreign bidder wins – loss of $5million, no benefit to NZ

        If the foreign bid is of lesser value than the local bid then there can be no benefit to NZ. If it is of equal value there can be no substantial benefit to NZ.

        Comprenez? No, I thought not…

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.4

        And the benefit of foreign investment is of course the fact that it is foreign—-other people bringing money into the country.

        If we want money all we need to do is print it. Money, after all, isn’t a resource. The farms are which, of course, is why the Chinese government want them.

  2. The decision is perfectly rational.  If an overseas entity wants to buy Kiwi land they should have to show that there is a benefit over and above that which future local owners could provide.
     
    Key is wrong to be surprised and you can see him slipping into fudge mode on this.
     
    Mind you I never thought I would be cheering for an event which may result in Michael Fay increasing his wealth …

    • lprent 2.1

      Yeah. I wonder if there is any way that he could be stripped of the citizenship of a country that he doesn’t really reside in any more? Can’t think of any offhand…

      I gather that the underlying issue is that the banks are likely to take a loss on the value that his group are offering, so they’re looking at the better heeled offer from offshore. But that depends on an OIO

      I’ve been looking back through the summaries of the OIO decisions for the last few years, and generally been reasonably pleased with what I can see. Mostly people becoming residents, companies that have been here for a while and moving from tenants to ownership with a existing economic track record, and a few quite innovative skills injections like a sheep milking operation. I’d like more information on some.

      But I don’t have a problem with people emigrating here and owning land. That is how the country got a lot immigrants from the Maori’s to the deluges in the 20th. Some do.

      It is the non-resident owners that need to show a benefit to the country above what local owners would provide. Frankly from what I can see of Pengxin proposal, and a few others in the summaries the benefits are more speculative PR than real.They should lease land and prove the concept before permission to purchase is granted.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        Yeah. I wonder if there is any way that he could be stripped of the citizenship of a country that he doesn’t really reside in any more? Can’t think of any offhand…

        At least if he were still a NZ citizen we could try him for treason. If the charge is still on the books that is.

        • Macro 2.1.1.1

          Yes treason is still a crime in this country Under the Crimes Act 1961 S 73 and was still a Capital Offence up until 1989, when it became punishable by life imprisonment.

          “Every one owing allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen in right of New Zealand commits treason who, within or outside New Zealand,—
          (a) Kills or wounds or does grievous bodily harm to Her Majesty the Queen, or imprisons or restrains her; or
          (b) Levies war against New Zealand; or
          (c) Assists an enemy at war with New Zealand, or any armed forces against which New Zealand forces are engaged in hostilities, whether or not a state of war exists between New Zealand and any other country; or
          (d) Incites or assists any person with force to invade New Zealand; or
          (e) Uses force for the purpose of overthrowing the Government of New Zealand; or
          (f) Conspires with any person to do anything mentioned in this section.”

          Actually it would be hard to pin any of those on Sir Michael, even though his bid for the farms is little more than a means to furthering his wealth at the expense of others.

        • Mike 2.1.1.2

          We could charge Roger Douglas and his cronies for treason at the same time. these are the same pr***s that removed the death penalty for treason (NZ’s last crime punishable by death) around the same time they were introducing Rogernomics and selling our country down the drain.

  3. vto 3

    Maurice Williamson is being his usual toolself in suggesting that it is incredibly surprising that they have been applying these rules for 7 years and are only now told that different criteria need to be applied.

    The truth is that the OIO has been doing it wrong. Nobody else. And nobody else had a responsibility to tell them how to do it. That is the department that he is responsible for. He has been doing it wrong, nobody else. That is no surprise to me – Williamson has been getting many things wrong for many years. Maybe he should have applied for some direction from the courts years ago if he was not confident that they had been doing it correctly.

    Come to think of it – perhaps all things that Maurice Williamson does in government should be put to the courts to see if he has been doing things correctly. This suggests that he hasnt.

  4. vto 4

    Regarding Fran O’Sullivan and her crappola opinion that people commenting should sign their names to their personal political opinions ……….. has she ever wondered why voting is done in a booth and is confidential?

    Have the reasons for confidential voting ever crossed her simple mind? And that perhaps those reasons apply here?

    Given her similarly brainless piece on Chch’s rebuild last week, which simply forgot that the last earthquakes were only six weeks ago and insurance is still not available, it seems that her pieces are simply never fully informed.

    What a waste of space.

  5. Gawd I have just watched Key in Parliament saying continuously that the decision was because Ministers had to follow the law.  Does he not understand that the ruling is that Ministers clearly did NOT follow the law?

    EDIT: He is also wrong in that Ministers are not meant to blindly follow advice, they are actually meant to consider advice and then make their mind up.

    • RedBaron 5.1

      What mind? It’s a blank space funnelling PR isn’t it?

    • vto 5.2

      Note that the decision said “the economic benefits were materially overstated” by the OIO.

      They weren’t merely “overstated”.
      They weren’t merely “overstated but that was of little import to the final result”.
      They were “materially” overstated and that is court-speak for high exaggeration.

      And Key has the temerity to call it “only the judge’s opinion”. Judges opinions are the highest and most considered of all John Key, or do you not understand that?

      He doesn’t understand it. He doesn’t understand much.

    • Jum 5.3

      Labour has to find a way to line up on paper the glaring, costly (to Kiwis of course, not him) errors Key has made against the current results of his bungling and corrupt actions and the flimsy excuses he uses to stack up the Hansard so later researchers think he was blameless.

    • RedLogix 5.4

      Quite disturbing to see the Prime Minister of this country just making shit up in Parliament. Everyone know he is wrong; so where is the ‘misleading the House’ provision when you need it?

      • Jackal 5.4.1

        Good question RedLogix. I think that if the House of Representatives has been misled, it is up to the Speaker Lockwood Smith to refer the matter to the Privileges Committee for investigation. I’ve been waiting since October last year for him to do exactly that concerning John Key’s Standard & Poor’s lie.

  6. Jum 6

    What a joke.

    The lawyers that advise the OIO are working on behalf of the investors. The Greens told New Zealanders about that. If they hadn’t told Kiwis this would all have gone under the radar.

    Why didn’t David Shearer say the word ‘lease’?
    Why didn’t Winston Peters say the word ‘lease’?

    What is controlling this whole process and more importantly what is controlling Parliament? It certainly ain’t New Zealand citizens!

    Kiwis need to call for lease only of strategic/valuable and/or productive NZ land.

    More important than any of that, the land should be used for New Zealanders to learn about the land, about sustainability, about caring for animals, about youth having a future. The land, especially the Crafar land, affords that chance.

    Certainly, Fay does not deserve to benefit from it apart from a nod from the New Zealand people that finally he may have done something to benefit New Zealanders rather than his own greed.

    • Wayne 6.1

      More important than any of that, the land should be used for New Zealanders to learn about the land, about sustainability, about caring for animals, about youth having a future. The land, especially the Crafar land, affords that chance.

      Sorry. It is about the fact that shitloads of money is owing on the farms and the creditors have the right to dispose of them the way they wish, at least within the limits of the law as currently defined.

      Would you like it if someone told you that you could only lease your house to someone when you in fact really wanted to sell it?

      • lprent 6.1.1

        They can, subject to the laws of the land. In this case subject to the Overseas Investment Act.

        You don’t like it? Tough. Get involved in a political party or a lobby group and spend the decades required to change the law.

        Whining about it just makes you look pretty pathetic

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.2

        It is about the fact that shitloads of money is owing on the farms and the creditors have the right to dispose of them the way they wish, at least within the limits of the law as currently defined.

        Thanks for raising the fact that banks lent way too much on the farms to start with. Also thank you for raising the fact that Australian banks are the ones who are deciding the future of these NZ farms.

        Would you like it if someone told you that you could only lease your house to someone when you in fact really wanted to sell it?

        Finally, thank you for your irrelevant parallel. The Australian banks are still welcome to sell the farms , not lease them, just to Landcorp or a NZ buyer.

  7. ianmac 7

    Sorry to say that the OIO will rephrase their decision to include the “advantages” over alternatives in keeping with the Court decision. The Ministers will approve (and save face) and all will be as they intended.
    Williamson said on National Radio after 5pm that there were no other bids lodged therefore no comparisons to what would happen if the Chinese bid was not accepted. (Wot? No other bids?)

    • lprent 7.1

      Yep. But according to Fran, this was a Williamson special. It was almost a year whereas the usual longest OIO decision is about 2 months. Williamson had to push the OIO and literally change the rules to get it through.

      Tends to say that this was about as good as they will get without some actual economic value being actually displayed.

    • RedLogix 7.2

      Crap. There were at least three other bids I am aware of; one from Landcorp itself, one from a consortium of Landcorp and iwi, and the Fay backed bid.

      The conversation I was listening to some months back suggested that the Minister interfered in the Landcorp bid to ensure it did not suceed. The source was a fairly senior Landcorp manager. Unfortunately I’m not in any position to produce any evidence on this so treat this as speculative.

      • Ross 7.2.1

        According to the High Court, Fay hasn’t made a formal bid, and the eother offers were apparently too low.

        • Colonial Viper 7.2.1.1

          The Oz banks have no interest in considering NZ economic sovereignty or long term independence as a factor in their choice of buyer. Quite the opposite in fact, considering who they act on behalf of (Australian investors).

  8. Jackal 8

    I wonder if Pengxin want their rather large donations to National back?

    • Jum 8.1

      Jackal,

      Perhaps Pansy Wong, Fran O’Sullivan and Jenny Shipley can take them back and get further instructions on how to take over New Zealanders’ financial future.

      Fascinating – we have America and China fighting over control of New Zealand and the treasures of the Antarctic. I wonder who will win. If Key has his way it will of course be his masters of the Fed.

      • Matt 8.1.1

        Sorry, is the US fighting to control New Zealand? They barely notice you.

        • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.1

          No no no you got it all wrong. This is not about “control” in the Roman Empire sense of the word. We are talking about being a target for wealth extraction.

    • Zeroque 8.2

      Is it a fact that the Chinese bid have donated to the Nats in some way? Sorry, I may be a bit behind on this topic.

      • hawk 8.2.1

        Yes it would be nice to see some sort of factual evidence to back this statement up.

        Unless I see that I will think that the Jackal is talking shit to appear clever.

        • Colonial Viper 8.2.1.1

          Factual evidence lolz let me just reach inside my paper work for all the little trusts and brown envelopes National use to run their campaign financing.

  9. Drongo 9

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer woman.

  10. Ad 10

    This is a massive victory. It won’t completely turn this government around, or stop them dead, but they will feel the mood turning harder and faster towards economic sovereignty. It really does mean own our own future.

    I agree that anything that supports Michael Fay -that worst of the comprador haute-bourgeoisie- really sticks in the throat. Equally with a Maori group joined as a supporting party against the Government on this, it’s the perfect support to today’s political poll of Maori clearly turning harder against this government on its own asset sales programme. It’s not always true, but Maori interests and patriotic interests can really align.

    With the debate to follow in the coming weeks and months as the Crafar Farms decision goes back to the Minister, and then inevitably challenged again in the Courts, the non-traditional media will struggle to tow the corporatist line as much. If only Red Alert or the Greens site were as alert to the opportunity to blow the public debate wide open as this one is, after a moment like this.

    Hopefully legal teams around the country are drafting up angles to review government decisions coming up about the sale of electricity generation assets as well. Stopping this madness really now look more possible.

    It would be great if there were more political winners to emerge out of this than just Winston Peters. But if he is New Zealand’s most relevant and cutting political opposition, and he is effective, we have to give that to him.

    In the Prime Minister’s office tonight I am sure they will be beginning to plot out the scale of this impending loss in public opinion. It is in the same league as the Motonui discharge decision all those years ago.

    I so want to see them try to smile and wave through this in the next two weeks.

  11. Hilary 11

    The ideal solution would be for Landcorp to buy and manage them, applying best practice in farming and using the land to train up young farmers (local and international). That way the land and the stock win, as well as NZers.I’m not sure what Landcorp’s latest bid was, but I think it was more than Fay’s.

    • rosy 11.1

      I don’t know why they’re selling them off as a job-lot at all. They’re not adjacent to each other are they?

    • Jum 11.2

      If the govt had any real regard for New Zealanders (not the pseudo ones like john key) it would bankroll Landcorp i.e. Kiwi company owned by Kiwis bankrolled by govt ie. Kiwi owned.

      75% then 85% of New Zealanders polled want to retain assets in New Zealand hands/control. Private ownership will always be under the benign guardianship of all New Zealanders in an egalitarian type country.

      We will see who is behind Crafar and how transparent that will be in the next few days. Will it remain in New Zealand hands with people living in New Zealand working it and the profits remaining in New Zealand and adding to the New Zealand economy while the new owners benefit from the present benefits of New Zealand’s guardianship.

      This govt is putting through a bill which reduces to zero any foreign investment taxation so we know which side they are on. Let the plunderers in and let them wipe their feet on New Zealanders’ backs. That’s what NAct wants to do.

      Glad to see Labour oppose that part.

  12. Colonial Viper 12

    Fran will be distressed? Must be all those pesky racist xenophobic High Court judges.

    • Mike 12.1

      Not only xenophobic, but according to dear old Wayne they’re ignorant of the facts and misinterpret the rules.

  13. BLiP 13

    . . . Unlike politicians, their minons and the wannabe media egos like Farrar and Slater; most bloggers are just not reliant or even interested in the media goodwill . . .

    Nor are we reliant for our income on distracting the public from inconvenient truths.

  14. Ross 14

    I don’t think Fran will be distressed at all.

    The Government is likely to change the law, possibly to make it easier for foreigners to buy land. Second, Shanghai Pengxin will no doubt demonstrate that there are substantial benefits and the sale will go ahead. Third, the Fay consortium haven’t even made a formal offer and if they were to do so it would almost certainly be rejected.

    • lprent 14.1

      Trying to change the Overseas Investment Act is what they should have tried in the first place rather than trying to stealthily and sneakily change the rules away from public scrutiny. The process of trying to change the law opens up the debate on the subject with debate in the house, select committees, and the glare of publicity that allows the issue of how and when overseas investment in NZ property is allowed to be debated across the whole of our society.

      The are some unfortunate examples of absentee owners from other countries, questions of repatriation of profits to avoid taxes, and of course the general issue of economic benefit to citizens and residents to consider.

      It won’t be a fast process, and it hasn’t been the last couple of times it has come up. The likely result is unlikely to please Fran and those who think like her. Personally I’d think that there is more likely to be a tightening of the rules rather than a loosening because they look too damn loose at present based on this decision. And I am one of those who is generally in favour of having a reasonably liberal overseas investment policy.

    • rosy 14.2

      For once I’ll be interested to see what Peter Dunne thinks about this.

  15. Peter 15

    Great read. Well put. I am amazed that the cheerleaders of the Right resort to avoiding the issues and attacking personalities when they come up against contrary opinions that do not suit their political masters.

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