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Nat revolt over Crafars sale

Written By: - Date published: 9:15 am, March 4th, 2012 - 70 comments
Categories: election 2014, john key, national, privatisation - Tags:

Remember the hagiographies after the first hundred days of National’s first term? In the second term, things couldn’t be more different. The Sunday-Star Times has printed dozens of emails it obtained (a leak?) that were sent to Key opposing the sale of Crafar farms. Many of them are brutal comments from former National supporters. Key didn’t even provide comment for the article.

But Russel Norman, Winston Peters, and David Shearer (in that order, tellingly) all weigh in on why the Crafars issue is hurting National so much. Shearer links National’s determination to sell the farms to Pengxin to its asset sales policy and corporate kickbacks that have legislation for sale – building a picture of a government that will sell everything we have. Norman and Peters talk about Key’s duplicity, how he promised not to make us tenants in our own land then did exactly that, and how he isn’t governing in the nation’s interest but for his own personal aggrandisement.

It’s a devastating combined attack. Many of the points of Key’s character and his government’s objectives that we have been talking about for years manifested around this one issue.

But it’s the emails from National supporters that really do the damage. You should read the full article but the ones that particularly caught my eye were farmers lamenting that foreign buyers are putting farmland out of reach of their children. The likes of Fran O’Sullivan seem to think that foreign zero-interest capital fueling our rural property bubble is a good thing but ordinary Kiwis know that higher prices don’t mean higher wealth production – it just leaves us poorer and more indebted in the long-run.

There is a real sense of betrayal in many of the emails from (now former) National voters who feel they were duped at the election by Key keeping quiet about Crafar farms. This sense of outrage will only grow as the extent of the government’s involvement in Landcorp’s proposal to lease the farms from Pengxin, made before the election, comes to light.

Many of the emails question whether Key will listen, whether he really cares about the public good, whether he even cares about re-election. I would say he doesn’t. National has fallen 10% in the Roy Morgans in the last five months. Re-election ain’t going to happen and Key doesn’t care about the health of the National Party once he’s gone. So, Key will do whatever the hell he wants for the next two and a half years. And he’ll get many more angry emails from former supporters as a result.

70 comments on “Nat revolt over Crafars sale”

  1. uke 1

    Link doesn’t work: should be Heartland Backlash
     
     

  2. Lanthanide 2

    One thing that caught my notice was that the farms were advertised in Singapore and Hong Kong as being able to be purchased individually, whereas back in NZ the receivers were only willing to entertain bids for the entire portfolio as a whole.

    I’m sure we could have had individual farms sold off to individual NZ interests by now had they been willing to sell them that way to people in this country.

    • ianmac 2.1

      Yes Lanth. Wondered if it was a ploy to keep NZs out so that “new” money would be in? And if the farms had been sold individually in NZ maybe Mr Key would have been saved angst.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        The most damaging aspect of this is one that the SST article covers.

        Through the OIO, Key’s officials would have known that Asian buyers of the Crafar Farms were being favoured over NZ buyers. Foreign buyers were offerred more flexible commercial terms than NZ buyers – i.e the ability to buy the farms separately instead of in one block.

        NZ farmers were not given that option. Many of Crafars neighbours would have happily snapped up a couple of hundred hectares each, if they’d been given the chance, but they weren’t.

        This is the absolute killer blow, and when it becomes known to rural NZ in general, Key is over.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 2.1.2

        “New” money into the National Party from Pengxin you mean?

    • Ed 2.2

      Do you have a reference for that advertising in Singapore and Hong Kong? I was very surprised that the receiver was able to justify to creditors insisting on selling them all together – surely the banks would have preferred them to be available to as wide a group of purchasers as possible?

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Knowing a few of these passionate rural types, I doubt that the negativity towards Key is going to stop at emails. I suspect that Key is going to start getting earfuls at face to face National Party meetings and events throughout provincial NZ.

    • muzza 3.1

      They need to take a leaf out of the French Farmers protest manual, and get rolling those flaming hay bales down parnell rise!

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 3.2

      I suspect the local MPs are already getting them.
      Floor-crossing, seats guaranteed for life salt of the earth that they are 🙂

    • Fortran 3.3

      It has been suggested that Harteveldt of the SST has been conned by Michael Fay’s PR company with these “leaked” emails.

      • Colonial Viper 3.3.1

        When farmers write to the PM complaining about Government actions they tend to make it very clear in black and white who they are and where they are from. The emails and letters will contain the exact names and addresses of the people who wrote them.

        It has been suggested by myself that Harteveldt of the SST has been conned by Michael Fay’s PR company with these “leaked” emails.

        Just to clarify you understand haha.

  4. Policy Parrot 4

    What the hell were these people expecting? The writing has been on the wall ever since the receivers took over the farms from Allan Crafar. The Nats have made it clear that they are in favour of foreign ownership, since the early 1990s.

    Now, just because it’s now farms that are being hocked off, the rural brigade is up in arms.

    I say again, what were they expecting? That farms would be somehow different? That National would actually stop sales that it is philosophically in agreement with? Struth! Gimme a break!

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      They bought into the lie of That Nice Mr Key hook line and sinker. And now the rest of us are going to have to live with the consequences: sale of state assets that National themselves have admitted don’t stack up financially.

    • Richard Christie 4.2

      > “Now, just because it’s now farms that are being hocked off, the rural brigade is up in arms.”

      ^ This

      • McFlock 4.2.1

        But when they came for the beneficiaries, rural nats weren’t beneficiaries.
        And when they came for the community education classes, rural nats weren’t in comunity education classes.
        and so on.
            
        Them that fails to learn from history, and all that.

    • Policy Parrot 4.3

      A little OTT, but…

      latest Roy Morgan (2/3/12), in contrast to its publisher’s claim, would likely result in a change of government.

      Nat 55
      Lab 38
      Gre 16
      NZF 6
      Mao 3
      Man 1
      ACT 1
      UFU 1

      At the very least, asset sales would halted.

      • Lanthanide 4.3.1

        Given that those numbers add up to over 100%…

        Unless that’s supposed to be 45% for National. Even assuming 45% it comes to 111%

      • toad 4.3.2

        Unless Winston does the dirty, like he did in 1996. And it would be a safe bet Key’s “won’t work with NZF” position would be gone by lunchtime if he needed them.

  5. Shona 5

    Hard to feel ANY sympathy for these drongo National supporters. The reality they are now facing thanks their stupidity and greed my family dealt with a generation ago . After 6 genrations of of being a rural kiwi family my family mostly now live offshore.Those still on the land pimp their superior farm production skills for foreigners and lease land for their stock.
    These people need to know sympathy is in the dictionary between shit and syphillis.

  6. The revelation over the crafar farms and other policies show that key is not operating
    as a pm in the best interests of nz or the people.
    I was not aware that goldman sachs had a nz office,the office is in auckland,Goldman
    Sachs ltd,auckland,there is a Philip Borkin an economist working there and i suspect
    engineering policy etc from there for key,key is an insider,his policy decisions are
    without reason or understanding. Common GS traits.
    English also being vauge and ‘not in the loop’ on policies that he should have a handle on
    explain that there is more to this picture,i tried to understand why key,a wall street
    insider would install such an oxy moron finance minister,well actually he didn’t,
    key has installed one of his own,the above character from GS,(under cover of course)
    The crafar farms,the asset sales,the job losses,the dumbing down of public services,
    privatising everything that shows life,the corporate attack on unions and working
    conditions and pay rates, all of which point to being at war in our own country,
    the war was launched 3yrs before key came to nz from wall street when he joined
    up with the national party and unless nz’ers who care find a way to get rid of this
    traitor, nz and the people will not recognise our homeland.
    I remember the muldoon days,but key is so,so much worse for nz and the people.

  7. millsy 7

    The Crafar farms issue could prove to be for National what the smacking issue was to Labour.

    It will probably go through, but there will be long term damage to the party as a result.

    • QoT 7.1

      The Crafar farms issue could prove to be for National what the smacking issue was to Labour.

      Really? You think 113 MPs will support it, but the lead opposition party will manage to capitalise on it because the media won’t actually report on it accurately? *headdesk*

  8. Julian Haworth 8

    Key, along with other ministers, is coming to the Upper Clutha Ag Show next week. Here is a chance for farmers to vent their spleen. Please spread this around.

  9. Bill 9

    So Winston reckons the sale was a roundabout way to bail out the banks who had loaned money to Crafar. That implies government involvement.

    Then we have this ( Did anyone else immediately think ‘dodgy derivatives’ when they read it?)

    Critics of that bid said the farms could only be sold profitably as a group because there were some poorly-performed farms in the portfolio.

    • ianmac 9.1

      Dodgy derivatives. I see what you mean. And a year or so ago I would have had no idea what one was. The local supermarkets practice hiding dodgy derivatives by making up bags of fruit with a few dodgy ones in the mix.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 9.1.1

        At least they don’t pack entire acres worth of rotten mouldy crops in sealed boxes with no right of return.

    • seeker 9.2

      @Bill@11.08am

      Again, as I commented to marsman above – at the best, inapproprate behaviour,at the worst,corrupt. Am still leaning towards corrupt.

  10. illuminatedtiger 10

    Bring on Prime Minister Shearer!

  11. The next saga to the story will involve an analysis of the OIO decision to see if on selling the farms breaches the terms of the consent.  If so then the reconsideration by the OIO could be very interesting.

    Nothing springs to mind but the deal with Landcorp may be important.  If this agreement is inconsistent with the sale of the farms then Key is in deep dodos.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 11.1

      The OIO provided the evidence of the intention to split and resell. If that was in breach of their own consent then I hope the Serious Fraud Office would be taking an interest, but I won’t hold my breath.

      • Lanthanide 11.1.1

        Serious fraud office should have taken an interest in the 2011 National budget that booked asset sales before they were realised and failed to discount the revenue stream.

  12. DH 12

    It’s hard to know what really is going on with National. Start connecting some of the dots and you get contradictory nonsense. This article from Brian Gaynor is interesting;

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10789421

    He bemoans the fact that farms aren’t good stock for the sharemarket because they’re overvalued & geared up for capital gain rather than returns via dividends. They’re only overpriced because foreign buyers have pushed up the prices, Crafar farms are only worth $170mil to Kiwi buyers & at that price they’d probably make a good stock if they were floated.

    Key in one breath says we need foreign investment and in the next breath says we need to sell SOEs to ‘deepen’ the capital markets. If the Govt stopped foreign buyers inflating the prices of assets here then it’s obvious the sharemarket would get deeper by itself.

    It’s small wonder people are starting to get pissed, I think most of us can see the glaring contradictions whether instinctively or actually.

    • insider 12.1

      The crafars paid over 200m for them. Last I heard they were locals.

      • DH 12.1.1

        Rubbish. Crafar owed nearly $200m, he certainly didn’t pay that much for the farms.

      • prism 12.1.2

        How much equity did the Crafars have? And how much was borrowed. It was my understanding that this project was heavily leveraged and they had bitten off more than they could chew.

        • DH 12.1.2.1

          Who knows, the receivers don’t put out a public set of accounts. The reports were it had no effective equity, it was all chewed up by interest owed to the banks. I heard he was paying up to 9% on some of his loans, doesn’t take long to wipe out shareholder capital at that level of interest rates.

    • seeker 12.2

      “glaring contradiction” that’s Key all over, in fact our very own ‘cuckoo in the nest’ (courtesy of Goldman Sachs ???)

  13. Uturn 13

    The emails sent to Key read like they come from a nice bunch, for sure. They’ll still engage with social security bashing, but if they think the Nats won’t come for them next in the same style, and they already have – saying anyone who disagrees is a racist – they’re dreaming. Their self interest is so overwhelming it stops them seeing the big picture. No one and no change of government could help these people help themselves or NZ because as soon as they get comfortable they don’t care anymore. It’s sad, like watching a bunch of drunks complain they’re lying in their own puke n shit, then they pass out, then on waking again they have another drink and complain about their state, then pass out…. on and on and on…

  14. Blue 14

    There sure are some stupid National supporters out there in those green, grassy paddocks.

    Key is a Wall Street currency trader, one of the faceless men who regularly shits all over NZ’s exporters, and they elected him PM.

    He told them he loved asset sales and foreign investment, and they nodded their heads along and cheered.

    Now they have a case of buyer’s remorse? Priceless.

    Perhaps they are beginning to understand now how Key made his 50 million dollars. It wasn’t by being nice and smiling a lot.

  15. Kotahi Tane Huna 15

    Wayne to shoot yourself in the foot. There is evidence of racism – from National Party voters – the grown-ups have been making other objections entirely. Not only that but they (the grown-ups) also raised similar objections in prior cases, as you know, having had your nose rubbed in them the last time you failed to debate this with anything approaching reason or logic.

  16. Colonial Viper 16

    LOL Key is going under, racism or not, he’s made a bad call and alienated a key National Party constituency.

    And are you trying to come up with news that parts of rural NZ remain skeptical of foreigners at the best of time? Come on keep up, that’s always been the case!!!

  17. Kotahi Tane Huna 17

    Wayne, in a forum devoted to the issue, despite the fact that no such argument had been raised by anyone present (it being a grown-up venue), you repeatedly made this claim without a shred of evidence. Now you can point to a handful of emails, and you are defining this handful as “much of the outrage”.

    But the fact is that commenters here and elsewhere have authored screeds of debate without basing their arguments on race at all. So no, your point is not proved, and where there is evidence for it, it is evidence of racism in the National Party, something that Standard commenters also point out quite often.

    Unless this is some dewayneged new definition of “much”, that is.

  18. KJT 18

    Then there are the business people who see that selling assets does not make business sense.

    Some of these people are going to start paying closer attention to the real effects of National’s policies, instead of blindly trusting that NACT is “good for business”.

  19. McFlock 19

    Racism bad, unless it targets the “decadent, post-modern West”.
    Got that.
     

  20. Feck some country type National supporters are racist ergo most opponents to a stupid idiotic policy proposal are racist.

    Am I missing something? 

  21. Draco T Bastard 21

    So, Key will do whatever the hell he wants for the next two and a half years.

    Hopefully, it won’t be two and a half years. If National are losing party members then it’s entirely possible that some of their MPs will cross the floor.

  22. DJL 22

    I don’t get why farmers are for asset sales at all, not just land as farms. Don’t they have a high usage of electricity? Are they not worried where thier power bill is going to be at in the years to come?

    • Colonial Viper 22.1

      A lot of rural people and farmers are not for asset sales at all. But they will still vote NAT. Go figure.

  23. Peggy 23

    It is news to me that the Crafar farms were advertised for sale individually in Asia. I haven’t seen it reported anywhere here in New Zealand, despite the fact that I’ve been paying attention to what’s been published. Why wasn’t this fact uncovered by our news media? Asleep at the wheel, perhaps?

    • CnrJoe 23.1

      where have you been Peggy? This is the media.

      • McFlock 23.1.1

        I think I know everything I need to know, because One told me so.
        There’s no place I’d rather be, than the fairy-land of Three.
               
        Their new slogans aren’t so obvious )

    • starlight 23.2

      It wasn’t published in nz because it was ‘hush,hush’,the media were under orders not to
      devulge any information ‘or else’ big chop.

  24. tc 24

    How about farmers having their farms devalued and worthless as a good old boy neighbour decides to mine his as he’s got coastal blocks with mineral value, how’s that working out for them.

    Party for rural NZ, LOL……they thought they’d be looked after, boo hoo, wakey wakey old boys the young Turks don’t give a shit about history or what’s good going forward just make a buck now And bye bye back to Hawaii.

  25. Treetop 25

    Crafar’s legacy will be the fellow who did NZ farming a favour. The chance of Crafar not being able to repay the bank was high and Key saw Crafar’s demise as an oppertunity off shore.

    I reiterate, lease the farms to whoever is prepared to pay the most cash, (individually or in lots).

    I would like to see a mass of farmers descend on Wellington to ask why they are being treated as second rate farmers on NZ land by the government?

  26. prism 26

    KordaMentha has been the firm with all the control of these Crafar assets which are on the verge of being strategic. Interestingly enough KordaMentha were also involved in our sad debacle with Ansett after that went belly-up in 2001. “By this point, the administration of the company had transferred to newly formed insolvency firm KordaMentha.”

    Here is another example of our money being sucked across the Tasman. When can we be allowed to tie our own shoe laces Mummy? Here is some info about the firm from Wikipedia.

    KordaMentha is an Australian business known for their work as insolvency and restructuring practitioners. They also provide Corporate Recovery Services, Turnaround Restructuring Services, Real Estate Advisory (distressed situations) and Forensic services. The business was formed in April 2002 by Mark Korda and Mark Mentha.[1][2]Contents [hide]
    1 Evolution
    2 Major Engagements

    KordaMentha partners undertook the first Voluntary Administration in Australia, the largest Voluntary Administration in Australia (Ansett Australia with 42 companies, 15,000 employees and >$1 billion assets), the largest Group of Voluntary Administrations in Australia (Stockford Ltd with 84 companies) and more Voluntary Administrations than any other insolvency firm in Australia in 2003.

    By 31 March 2003 KordaMentha had expanded its business with licensed offices in Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide.
    During FY05 KordaMentha grew its Perth and Sydney practice with senior partners and staff joining the firm from Ernst & Young.
    KordaMentha now has over 350 staff, with offices in all Australian capital cities, Auckland and Singapore as well as international affiliates in the UK and US.

    • Colonial Viper 26.1

      When can we be allowed to tie our own shoe laces Mummy?

      That’s about it. A projection of NZ as weak, unable to look after itself, incapable of making the right decisions and certainly not trusted to apply its own meagre expertise.

  27. felix 27

    These nats are revolting!

  28. RedBaron 28

    Yeah I’d like to see the farmers turn out in Wellington en masse.

    I’m still laughing about last time, when 4 farmers in black singlets, hats and swannies were jammed in one car protesting their inability to pay taxes. Pity the car was the … latest model Merc …brand new.

    Some of the others brought their tractors – around $200,000 each I believe.

    Good to know that there are fields still uncolonised by spin doctors and PR machines.

    Still it seems that a lot of long time Nat voters have suddenly woken up to the fact that Brand “national” has been taken over by some seriously offshore right wingers.

    and perhaps it’s time for Labour to make it clear to more people, that brand “Labour” owes a lot more to Scandinavian social democrat parties.

    And lastly hands up all the farmers who thought that the repeal of the Land Aggregation & Settlement Act 1920 was a good idea. That was the act that essentially stopped tenant farming taking hold here. Time to put it back on the books. I look forward to the farmimg lobby campaigning for this.

  29. Populuxe1 29

    John Key loves this country so much that he’s going to carve it up into pieces and sell them to his friends…

  30. Tanz 30

    Now that Key is not so popular, he never provides comment. Arrogant and empty.

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