Landcorp is a strategic asset, as were the power companies, that should stay in NZ hands and lead best practice https://t.co/ce7PK2f6E3
— Robin Campbell (@robellcampbin) September 14, 2017
Selling off Landcorp farms a backward step for New Zealand farming
Eugenie Sage MP on Thursday, September 14, 2017 – 13:57
Selling off Landcorp farms is a backward step for New Zealand farming that risks our land falling into overseas ownership, and worsening water quality, the Green Party said today.
The comments come on the back of National’s announcement it will sell Landcorp farms.
“As a state-owned enterprise Landcorp is accountable to all New Zealanders, and their farms should stay in the public’s hands” said Green Party environment and primary industries spokesperson Eugenie Sage.
“Selling Landcorp farms risks undoing the good work the state-owned farmer has done in recent years to be leaders; farming with the environment, not against it.
“By forming an Environment Reference Group comprising Dr Mike Joy and Dr Alison Dewes among others, reviewing how it farms and phasing out PKE, Landcorp is showing it is serious about reducing the pollution that harms our waterways and climate, not making excuses for it.
“Landcorp can lead the shift to environmentally sustainable farming. Its farms are a public asset we should be keeping, not selling them for overseas buyers to purchase sometime in the future.
“When National flogged off shares to electricity companies they said Kiwis would buy them, but many went to overseas investors.
“New Zealand’s weak overseas ownership laws mean it’s likely some farms will be sold to offshore agribusiness interests down the line, who are able to pay higher prices than local farming companies.
“The Green Party will keep our public assets including Landcorp farms in public ownership. We must keep control over our means of production to ensure our farms are run in the best interests of New Zealanders and our environment,” said Ms Sage.
Green Party environment and primary industries spokeswoman Eugenie Sage said the sales risked land falling into overseas ownership, and worsening water quality.
In recent years Landcorp had focused on improving its farms’ environmental performance by forming an environment reference group which showed it was serious about reducing pollution.
Landcorp is New Zealand’s largest farmer, running about 140 farms the length and breadth of the country. It has 700 staff, with an average of six per farm.
Press release from Landcorp (PDF) from the setting up of the Environmental Reference Group in 2015,
Expert group supports Landcorp in putting environment first
Landcorp is bringing strong, independent environmental leadership to its management table by establishing an advisory group of environmental experts.
The Environmental Reference Group (ERG) will guide Landcorp’s environmental focus, taking a leading role in implementing sustainable agricultural strategies that put environmental best practice first across all of Landcorp’s operations.
The group comprises six of the country’s leading primary sector experts across a range of fields – Nelson-based environmental strategy expert Guy Salmon (chairman), sustainable farming adviser and veterinarian Dr Alison Dewes (Cambridge), water quality scientist Dr Mike Joy (Palmerston North), agricultural economist and Maori agribusiness consultant Dr Tanira Kingi (Rotorua), primary sector marketing expert Dave Maslen (Christchurch) and inventor and entrepreneur Angus Robson (Matamata).
Mr Carden said the group demonstrated a new model for the primary sector, with environmental leaders collaborating in business decisions. The ERG will directly advise the Landcorp board and Mr Carden, helping Landcorp think about how it can change its farm systems and adopt new technologies in some of the country’s more sensitive farming regions.
It’s easy to see why National wouldn’t be happy with that. Presumably any land sold will then be available for resale including to overseas buyers.