The Lochinver station

Written By: - Date published: 7:51 am, August 9th, 2014 - 132 comments
Categories: farming, john key, national, overseas investment - Tags:

Lochinver station

Just over six weeks to go until the next election and we have our first major campaign issue. Not what some young people said about John Key but foreign ownership of our land.

With regards to that other issue I am bemused that it is even thought to be worthy of cover.  The video emerged two weeks ago without comment.  Suddenly two days ago when the Government needed to distract attention what some young people said became a big issue. It is not as if there was anything illegal in what they were saying.  And I must admit developing occasional bouts of Tourette’s myself when the Prime Minister’s name is mentioned.

It is a strange world we live in when someone who receives large amounts of public money for being a media celebrity and who is hosting the most important political debate this year calls David Cunliffe a moron and this is not reason to do anything, let alone disqualify him for clear bias, but a few young kids use the F word and the media goes into a moral melt down.

The land ownership issue goes to the core of our country’s economic sovereignty.  Basically if we do not have restrictions eventually we will all become tenants in our own land.  New Zealand is far too small to counter the economic power of larger overseas countries and because of our pleasant climate, our beautiful countryside and our benign political system I expect New Zealand to become more and more popular as other parts of the world succumb to environmental devastation.

The ability of New Zealanders to retain our land under our control is one of those basic ideas which underpins our way of life.  The loss by Maori of most of their land devastated Maori society.  The inability of young people to afford to buy homes in Auckland is something that is placing greater and greater strain on extended families.  And even Federated Farmers realise that having young farmers being priced out of the market will have a long term adverse effect on farming communities.

This is why Labour’s and the Green’s policy to restrict foreign ownership of farmland is on the right side of political opinion and why the Government is struggling.  Stephen Joyce’s behaviour last weekend is no accident.  His and National’s aggression levels go up when their desperation levels increase.

And this is why they have pushed onto a compliant media the proposal that Labour will veto the Lochinver station sale and open the Government up to a damages claim.

The line is simplistic and refuses to properly describe Labour’s actual position.  And this week on Morning Report despite Guyon Espiner’s best attempts to stop him from doing so David Cunliffe clearly set out the real position.  If the sale has received Overseas Investment Office approval and Ministerial consent then nothing can be done.  If the OIO has not made a decision then the Government will change the criteria, which it is able to do and the result will likely be that the application will be declined.  If the OIO has made a decision and a ministerial decision is required the Ministers will need to make the decision undoubtedly in accordance with the policy as it is at the time of the decision.

Cunliffe emphasised that to succeed the application would have to show significant benefit over and above the benefit of local ownership.

Labour has been criticised for potentially upsetting trade partners.  The funny thing is that many, many countries have restrictions if not outright bans on overseas individuals and entities owning local land.  This includes China, which I understand only allows leases to be granted.

It is not as if Labour’s position is radical.  Even Federated Farmers is expressing concern at the Lochinver sale and wondering if the benefits justify allowing the sale to happen.

How can we expect this Government to handle the application?  Well they were willing to give to Shanghai Pengxin part of the Rakaia River so anything is possible.

Labour’s position is obviously crafted to ensure that an adverse decision on the Lochinvar Farm proposal will be robust.  National’s desperation in misrepresenting the position and distracting attention is evidence they know they are on the wrong side of this issue.

132 comments on “The Lochinver station”

    • Chooky 1.1

      +100 paul…. thanks for those links

      …and great Post…this will be a BIG Election Issue and it cuts across all political parties

  1. Jepenseque 2

    Has anyone in labour considered the interests of the actual owners of the land – the Stevenson group? They want to free up capital to re invest in south auckland. The area of high deprivation and inequality. What about Stevensons right as title owners to get the best deal so they can they realise a return on all their hard work and reinvest that money into another area creating jobs. What about their rights?

    • mickysavage 2.1

      There is no absolute right to sell land to foreign interests and there have been restrictions for many decades. Communal interests still trump personal interests sometimes.

      The restriction of sales does keep the value down but again there are very good societal reasons for this to occur.

      Stephensons are a well run company. I am sure they can continue with their plans.

      • Saarbo 2.1.1

        Spot on MS.

        The group that is supporting foreign farm sales is a very small group by number but very influential and powerful. They include accountants and lawyer and large corporate farm owners, mainly the 10% of farmers who hold 50% of the debt, it also includes the large banks supporting this group. I think this group have leveraged up to the maximum so their debt to equity ratios are right on the edge, unfortunately foreign ownership increases the value of farms because of foreigners easy access to capital and improves the ratios for this desperate little group.

        Already most dairy farms are un-economic to purchase at current prices. A typical Waikato dairy farm will sell for a multiple of $50 per KG milk solids produced in a season, so if a farm is producing 100,000 kg ms then it will sell for $5m. If you want to supply Fonterra then you will have to purchase 100k shares at $6 per share. The total cost to purchase a dairy farm including shares, cows and equipment will be $6.5m.

        The annual cost to run this farm will be around $4.20 per KG MS before Interest. So if we get a pay out of $6.00 per kg ms then income = $600k less costs $420k = $180 profit before Interest.

        So to breakeven, this farm could afford to pay $180k of interest, which at 7.5% could service $2.4m of Debt. So a farmer would have to introduce $4.1m of equity for this farm to breakeven at $6. Unlikely that any young person could afford to come up with this deposit, ever.

        The point I am trying to make is that NZ dairy farms are already way too expensive for young people to ever start from scratch and own a dairy farm.

        This argument is purely an economic argument between a desperate small group trying to increase the price of farms even further into unaffordable territory and the rest of us. Why is this small but powerful group getting so much media time…it annoys me.

        • mickysavage 2.1.1.1

          Thanks Saarbo. Those figures are really scary. You can see the damage that an increase in interest rates would cause.

      • indiana 2.1.2

        “There is no absolute right to sell land to foreign interests and there have been restrictions for many decades. Communal interests still trump personal interests sometimes.”

        Where is this written in the constitution of NZ? Please do not confuse human rights or property rights with communal interests. Communal interests are fully covered by the taxes people pay.

        • Lanthanide 2.1.2.1

          Show us a written constitution and you might have a point…

        • Francis 2.1.2.2

          New Zealand doesn’t have a constitution. And the Bill of Rights mentions nothing about the right of an individual/company to sell land to overseas buyers.

          • Tamati 2.1.2.2.1

            Sorry, have to pull you up on this one. New Zealand does have a constitution, it’s just not written down in a single document.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2.3

          Please do not confuse human rights or property rights with communal interests.

          We’re not. Communal interests override property rights. If they don’t then society will collapse as the rich plunder it – just like it has every other time the rich became to powerful over the last 5000 years.

          Communal interests are fully covered by the taxes people pay.

          Nope and only an idiot or someone with something to hide would ever ever say such a thing.

          • Clemgeopin 2.1.2.3.1

            Or a RWNJ ACT sympathiser or an existential world is my oyster kind of philosopher.

        • Macro 2.1.2.4

          The Overseas Investment Office must approve all purchases of land by overseas investors over a certain size (can’t quite recall the area ) but if you look closely at any Sale and Purchase Agreement for any property in New Zealand you will see a requirement for OIO approval. It is normally rubber stamped – but there is no certainty. And significant areas and sales almost always require ministerial approval. We are after all giving foreign ownership of land within NZ. Try to own land in China!

      • fisiani 2.1.3

        How can Stephensons possibly continue with their plans to employ 8,000 people in South Auckland if Labour deny them the right to sell THEIR land to whoever they want for $70,000,000 .

        • Weepus beard 2.1.3.1

          If you are going to throw numbers like this around as some sort of marketing exercise for National party policy, why not try $70mill/8000pax?

          That’s right, $8750.00 per job. Not much, is it?

          We, or to be more accurate, the OIO needs to see this amazing business plan which is going to create 8000 jobs out of not much money.

        • Clemgeopin 2.1.3.2

          What if there were only a handful of jobs and not the ‘promised’ 8,000? Then what??

          I m anti selling our land and our country to non residents/non citizens i,e, to foreigners outright, rather than through partnership or lease!

          By the way, the claim of 8,000 jobs for a potential ‘venture’ seems like a lot of BS to me. Even at a modest $100 pay per person per day, i.e, $800,000 per day [per DAY!] $292,000,000 per year! [330 million dollars in wages alone per year !]

          Don’t get sucked into every Bs spouted by this crooked government and their ‘friends’!

          Why do you think the Chinese government LEASED Hong Kong to the British for 99 years rather than sell it outright? Who is the fool and who is the smart one here?

          On the other hand, the stupid Russians sold Alaska to USA for what is now a pittance and the idiot French war monger, Napoleon looking for quick cash sold Luisiana to USA too! Pretty Idiotic, don’t you think?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2

      Nothing to stop them leasing the land, is there?

    • tc 2.3

      Got any proof of trickle down in sth akl, stevensons are divesting and breaking up as the family does…….reads well but this didnt seem to apply when they flogged yards, precast businesses etc over the last 10 years including head office moving from sth akl into ellerslie.

      they have a quarry and a cement plant in sth akl both at capacity by their design and you have missed the point that fed farmers even seem to get so prove the point you are making.

    • Paul 2.4

      I see you are a devotee of Ayn Rand’s cult.

      • lurgee 2.4.1

        Never-the-less he/she has a point which should be addressed, rather than brushed aside with a glib smirk.

        If we allow people to own swathes of land, what happens when they choose to sell it?

        Can they sell it to anyone they like and realise the price they like? Or are they simply forced to keep it, making it a millstone, rather in the manner of the San Tome mine?

        Or are they forced to sell it at a loss or a reduced price to an artificially restricted pool of buyers?

        I assume they came into possession of the land with the expectation of being able to sell it without interference. If we’re changing the rules, it has to be considered carefully.

        Especially as interference is giving Labour a lot of bad headlines.

        • weka 2.4.1.1

          “I assume they came into possession of the land with the expectation of being able to sell it without interference. If we’re changing the rules, it has to be considered carefully.”

          The issue of overseas ownership of NZ land has been debated for a long time, and various parties have indicated the rules would be changed, so no, I don’t think we can operate on the assumption that people who bought land in any given year have to be treated by the rules of that year when they want to sell the land at some point in the future.

          The whole point is that the rules currently operate for the benefit of a few at the expense of the many. That’s why people want them changed.

          People have been speculating with the knowlege that things might change. Speculation is a risk.

          It’s like people buying low lying coastal land when they know that the sea levels will rise at some point. This came up recently in Dunedin, which has produced a report on predicted effects of AGW sea rise on the city. The council’s position is that people buying property in low lying areas are aware of the potential future issues when they bought, so there really isn’t an issue in terms of property price.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.4.1.2

          If we allow people to own swathes of land, what happens when they choose to sell it?

          We shouldn’t allow people to own land as the land cannot be removed from the commons.

          Especially as interference is giving Labour a lot of bad headlines.

          I suspect that the headlines are designed to be bad but that the majority of people will be agreeing with Labour.

          • lurgee 2.4.1.2.1

            DRACO – Never the less, we DO allow people to own swathes of land, and we have to deal with that reality, rather than just brushing off the issue with some shibboleth that doesn’t actually relate to reality.

            If people are largely in agreement with Labour, I would wonder about the underlying racism and xenophobia that suggests and if those votes are really worth chasing. Shania got a slice of South Island in 2004, and James Cameron basically owns the Wairarapa, but no worries there, it seems. Again, there seems to be a klutzish lack of though about policy, just a desperate desire to be seen to be doing something.

            WEKA – I didn’t say they should be guaranteed re-sale rights that applied in the year they purchased, merely that there is an underlying issue here about ownership and the freedom to dispose of their assets. If the state is going to start barging in on transactions like this, it is going to have massive ramifications. Needs to be thought through carefully, and seen to be thought through carefully, rather than coming across as some impulse intended to make Labour smell like New Zealand First.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.4.1.2.1.1

              Never the less, we DO allow people to own swathes of land, and we have to deal with that reality, rather than just brushing off the issue with some shibboleth that doesn’t actually relate to reality.

              Not allowing people to own land is the solution. Admittedly one that a lot of people won’t like but reality doesn’t require that people like it.

              If people are largely in agreement with Labour, I would wonder about the underlying racism and xenophobia that suggests and if those votes are really worth chasing.

              There is neither racism nor xenophobia in that position. You’ve been listening to the plutocrats too much.

              Shania got a slice of South Island in 2004, and James Cameron basically owns the Wairarapa, but no worries there, it seems.

              Possibly because they don’t get the same coverage in the MSM. IMO, there is as much opposition against English and US ownership of NZ land as there is against Chinese. Cameron got a conditional pass from me because he was looking both at settling in NZ and becoming a NZ citizen (I don’t know if he’s done this or not, if he hasn’t then the condition no longer applies).

              • lurgee

                Not allowing people to own land is the solution. Admittedly one that a lot of people won’t like but reality doesn’t require that people like it.

                Once more with feeling: that is not reality. It does not describe the current situation. It does not describe a situation that is likely to happen. So there is no point in waving it about like it is a solution.

                Address the real, imminent issue. What are we going to do about sales of land to foreigners. If we are going to limit it, we need the policy to be water-tight. At the moment it sounds like something scribbled on a beer mat after a particularly well lubricated night.

                There is neither racism nor xenophobia in that position. You’ve been listening to the plutocrats too much.

                You think there is no racism and xenophobia in the NZ population?

                Possibly because they don’t get the same coverage in the MSM. IMO, there is as much opposition against English and US ownership of NZ land as there is against Chinese. Cameron got a conditional pass from me because he was looking both at settling in NZ and becoming a NZ citizen (I don’t know if he’s done this or not, if he hasn’t then the condition no longer applies).

                And why do you think those sales received less coverage? Is it because the ‘MSM’ didn’t think they would be quite so interesting to their readers and viewers? Your admission that they don’t get the same coverage rather undermines the idea there is as much opposition to English and US ownership of NZ. We just don’t seem to get as worked up about it, for reasons that strike me as fairly obvious. Your ‘free pass’ to Cameron (who never became a citizen) is a classic example of it.

                (And what were you saying about listening to plutocrats? You gave the man a free pass because he mumbled some sweet nothings about citizenship!)

                There’s a double standard at work in our psyche. We need to be honest about it. As it is, at best Labour are stupidly exposing themselves to accusation of racist opportunism, at worst they are pandering to xenophobia.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  It does not describe the current situation.

                  No, it’s describes the solution to the current situation.

                  What are we going to do about sales of land to foreigners.

                  I’d ban all sales to foreign nationals and I’d do it by referendum. As I said elsewhere: The incoming government puts a moratorium on sales to offshore investors and holds a referendum asking the people of NZ if we should allow or disallow such sales. Considering how people actually feel about this (despite what National and their sycophants believe) we can be fairly sure that it will come down in favour of disallowing such sales. As it was set by referendum then you put in place a law that requires it to be reset by a greater referendum.

                  You think there is no racism and xenophobia in the NZ population?

                  I didn’t say that. I said there was no racism or xenophobia involved in a policy that bans sales to offshore investors.

                  And why do you think those sales received less coverage? Is it because the ‘MSM’ didn’t think they would be quite so interesting to their readers and viewers?

                  Couldn’t really say. Perhaps it’s the MSM’s own inbuilt racism or, considering how often the MSM cheer-leads for National, perhaps they’re running spin to paint China as the bad party of the two powers in the Pacific as National continues to kiss US arse.

                  (And what were you saying about listening to plutocrats? You gave the man a free pass because he mumbled some sweet nothings about citizenship!)

                  I didn’t give him a free-pass – I said it was conditional. As far as I’m concerned the land should be taken from him since he hasn’t become a citizen.

                  There’s a double standard at work in our psyche.

                  No there isn’t. You’re just trying to make it look as if there is to build up your non-existent case for racism and xenophobia.

                  • lurgee

                    I didn’t say that. I said there was no racism or xenophobia involved in a policy that bans sales to offshore investors.

                    I’ll deal with just this issue for the moment to avoid replies getting of hand.

                    My original comment:

                    If people are largely in agreement with Labour, I would wonder about the underlying racism and xenophobia that suggests and if those votes are really worth chasing.

                    Please note my comment is clearly describing the people who respond positively to the policy, not the policy itself.

                    Got that?

                    (So we can move on.)

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      You’re clearly assuming that people who agree with a non-racist policy are racist.

        • Clemgeopin 2.4.1.3

          They had every right to buy it and they have every right to sell it but they do not have every right to assume that they could sell it to anyone at anytime in any foreign land without the government’s approval which is not guaranteed. They are smart buggers. They should have known this!

    • tricledrown 2.5

      Selling to a Chinese company may have some benefits but China doesn’t sell us land.
      This is pushing the price of land beyond the price beyond the ability of NewZealand young farmers to own their own their own farm.
      on the other hand if we allow all our land to be sold off that would decimate National party rural support as new owners would no doubt put wages down to minimum wage levels.

      • mickysavage 2.5.1

        It is happening already. It is strange but the so called juggernauts of the economy, farming, and forestry, pay their workers so poorly.

    • Foreign Waka 2.6

      Well, a country’s sovereign right is undermined if the land that has and is defended by the blood from its soldiers is sold and non is left to defend. This is called treason. No other country is and will allow that. One has to ask the pertinent question: why is NZ for sale?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.6.1

        Debatable. The Crown still confers the title – what we perceive as ownership is in fact a registration of interest, which exists at the Crown’s pleasure.

        • Foreign Waka 2.6.1.1

          Yes, but this is just semantics really as none of the sales are being vetoed by the crown and with it a slow loss of sovereignty. I think it is a futile argument to suggest that the crown will interfere. NZ strategic assets are being sold to foreigners and at this rate nothing will be left to defend. Not he Queen, let alone a country. So really it is treason and I stand by my words on that.

  2. karol 3

    Guyon was doing his best to undermine Russel Norman on restrictions to foreign ownership as well.

    Norman handled it calmly and well. In the interview, Espiner editorialised by dismissing the argument about Fonterra not being able to buy land in China, saying the Chinese also couldn’t buy land there – he said that made it a “level” playing field. This, of course, ignores that internationally it’s not a level playing field if Chinese people and companies can buy property in NZ and elsewhere.

    I agree this is an election issue. But question that it is the “first” one to arise.

    Poverty and inequality is out there on the agenda, which is why it’s the first topic on Plunket’s new Prime TV show last night.

    I also think housing, education, transport and the cost of power are big ones for a lot of Kiwis.

  3. weka 4

    “Cunliffe emphasised that to succeed the application would have to show significant benefit over and above the benefit of local ownership.”

    Micky, is that under current rules? ie it’s about the interpretation of the rules by the OIA and the current Minister and wouldn’t require a rule change by Labour for the Labour Minister to say no (assuming the application doesn’t meet the significant benefit bit).

    Are the rules in statue or policy?

    • mickysavage 4.1

      I am no expert Weka but my understanding is that the statute sets out what is considered and Government policy can be set to determine how much weight is given to the things that are considered. With a change of emphasis different responses to the same application are possible.

      • weka 4.1.1

        Thanks micky, I was getting a bit confused between DC saying that Labour will change the rules, and DC saying that the next Labour minister could stop the Lochinvar sale if it hasn’t been approved. Just had a look at the Labour policy and it looks like the discretion is there already to turn down sales, but that the discretion is also there for right wing govts to not turn down sales ie Labour can start using the current rules to tighten up, but the rules probably need to be changed as well (not sure how you tory-proof them though).

        http://thestandard.org.nz/the-lochinver-station/#comment-863149

  4. dv 5

    Just in passing .
    I recall it was stated that there would be about 8000 jobs from the 70 m investment.

    At 30k per job (minimum wage)that would need an income for the payroll alone of $240 million

    To get a $240 return from 70m is stunning.

    • Lanthanide 5.1
      1. They don’t have to be full-time jobs, nor even last any longer than a couple of days in order to count amongst the 8000 jobs.
      2. Also it was a case of once they sell the farms, they can start another business elsewhere. It would be unlikely that the new venture would be 100% funded from the farm sales; that is there is likely to be other money to contribute to the new project on top of the $70m, but without the $70m the project will not happen at all.
    • Foreign Waka 5.2

      Its all lies the jobs don’t exist and never will. With the ever increasing automation of farming it is unlikely that more then 10 people are needed.

      • Lanthanide 5.2.1

        The Stevensons are going to take the $70M proceeds from sale and start up a new business somewhere else which they claim will create 8000 jobs, I believe it was mining related?

        • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1.1

          Mining? Really? Are there even 8000 mining jobs in NZ?

          • Herodotus 5.2.1.1.1

            http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/10345868/Lochinver-Station-sale-to-fund-quarry-operations
            Spanning 220ha, the development will take 15 years and is expected to create more than 8000 jobs. It will include warehouses, factories and other commercial/industrial buildings on the 360ha property.
            Perhaps many commenting can now have some easily obtained facts !! And this ALS o cheats potential employment in an area that Auckland is growing in Pokeno, Papakura etc and place employment close to residential developments- and is that not what we want from our town planners ??

        • Foreign Waka 5.2.1.2

          I hope for you and the people you advocate for that this is true, really. However, looking at the wider picture realistically, it looks more likely that it will be a grab and run. NZ is becoming fast a 1 city economy and I leave it up to you to make up your mind what that spells in 20 years time.

  5. Ad 6

    Cunliffe needs maybe three more issues like this and he will start really pulling people off the “undecideds” category and towards polling better to change the government.

    It would not be hard to link this to the sale of the state assets, and turn it into a theme about losing control of our common future as a people and as a country. A little patriotic anxiety.

    It also strikes me that we are deep into Treaty of Waitangi final settlements. Thousands of people have died and been disposessed over this land in the last 120 years. And yet are aren’t like Gaza or Israel or Iraq. We sure don’t look like Zimbabwe. We chose a powerfully different path for our land and our people.

    We should hold this land to our hearts as if the many lives lost, the damage done, and the gradual reconciliation that we have all paid for, is worth it. That means holding onto every square inch of this land for us, our needs, our children. What the capitalists call protectionism, we call honour.

    It’s the land, and it’s the people.

    • Bearded Git 6.1

      @ad-Raising the minimum wage to $16.25 and cleaning up the rivers and lakes so we can swim in them are the 2 other issues.

      IMO all 3 issues are starting to resonate, which they must as voting starts in 25 days on 3rd September. Advance Votes are as easy to cast as a vote on the 20th.

      • Clemgeopin 6.1.1

        Also the review of cyber laws, the house ownership crises, the control of corporate raids,
        the economic development of the regions, the Christchurch mess, the reduction of power and other bill….heaps of unfinished, unstarted programmes.

        But you are right. The three policies, Land sales, Minimum wage and cleaner rivers will wake the voters up and focus their mind to vote positively.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      +1

    • Clemgeopin 6.3

      Great post Ad. Well said!

  6. Dumrse 7

    “The ability of New Zealanders to retain our land under our control is one of those basic ideas which underpins our way of life.” “…basic ideas…”. So basic in fact that it was never even seen by the previous Labour Government. So, how basic is that?
    Politicking, pure and simple. I could have sworn your leader demanded that you stay focused on the issues, the real issues. If your going to harp on about Lochinver, make sure you give us some comparable data and analysis so as we can see that this particular sale is demonstrably worse than any thing ever undertaken by Labour. Tell us why it’s ok for the Poms and Aussies but not for the Asians. Show us the data, facts and figures and if it’s compelling you may get a % of swing voters.

    • weka 7.1

      IMO t’s not ok for any overseas people to own NZ land. Why do you think it’s ok for Poms and Aussies? Apart from that, you are confusing issues. Have you read the actual Labour party policy (the current policy), and applied your complaints to that?

      The current Labour party is not responsible for previous Labour party decisions. Have a look at the recent Paul Henry interview of DC, DC explains pretty clearly that Labour have changed their policy (a couple of years ago I believe), and that the people currently in Labour that were involved in the past regarding this issue have changed their minds.

      Or are you suggesting that political parties have to keep the same policies for all time?

      • weka 7.1.1

        Here you go,

        The discretion to turn down farm sales to overseas persons is already very wide, but has not been properly exercised by the current government.

        Labour will:

        clamp down on the sale of rural land to foreign buyers by limiting the discretion of the Minister to approve sales.

        We will significantly narrow the type of investment in rural land that will be acceptable in two ways:

        • First, to require that foreign investment would need to deliver benefits that would be over and above what a New Zealand investor would produce.

        • Secondly, to ensure that substantial job creation (for example through the introduction of new technology or new products) and substantial increases in exports are the most important factors to be considered.

        The Minister will need to be satisfied that the extra jobs or increase in exports will be additional to what would be likely to occur in the foreseeable future if a New Zealander purchased the land. (For instance, more milk powder would not fit the bill.)
        This does not prevent all foreign investment in New Zealand, but it does recognise that buying land is a privilege. If you want to buy into New Zealand, then you’ll have to bring something to offer New Zealand.

        Where the overseas person seeking to purchase farmland is intending to reside in New Zealand indefinitely, we will require that the Minister impose as a condition of the consent that the overseas person becomes a resident of New Zealand within a specified timeframe.

        http://campaign.labour.org.nz/overseas_speculation

        • BM 7.1.1.1

          If a Chinese/Oz/Canadian company set up a NZ division of their company could the NZ company then purchase NZ land?

          • weka 7.1.1.1.1

            Did you read the polityc BM? What do you think?

            • BM 7.1.1.1.1.1

              I’m in two minds about foreign companies/individuals purchasing land.

              On the plus side outside money coming in grows the pie and frees up coin that can be invested else where.
              For example the Stevenson group can take their 70 million and start up another 70 million dollar company that employs people and increases the tax take.

              NZ now has two 70 million dollar companies.

              On the negative side external money does distort the value of NZ property and puts it out of the reach of a lot NZ businesses and individuals.

              I had a quick read through the policy, I agree to some extent about home ownership and that the market especially in Auckland has become distorted.
              Maybe initially, temporary clamps need to be placed on foreigners purchasing homes to give the market time to settle down and have an opportunity for demand to catch up with supply.

              • RedLogix

                On the plus side outside money coming in grows the pie and frees up coin that can be invested else where.

                But of course the ‘plus side’ can only be a short-term effect. After all the whole point of an investment is to return a profit – and ultimately overseas owners extract their rentier profit off the land and send it out of the country – making the money flow a zero sum game.

                The real problem is not so much the money flow – but that overseas owners will make decisions around the use of the land that suits their interests. Usually to the detriment of the ‘tenants’.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  But of course the ‘plus side’ can only be a short-term effect. After all the whole point of an investment is to return a profit – and ultimately overseas owners extract their rentier profit off the land and send it out of the country – making the money flow a zero sum game.

                  Actually, it makes it a negative sum game as eventually the money taken out of the economy by the foreign owners will exceed the amount they put in.

                  The real problem is not so much the money flow – but that overseas owners will make decisions around the use of the land that suits their interests. Usually to the detriment of the ‘tenants’.

                  And they’ll lobby government to sign agreements such as the TPPA that prevents government from acting in the best interests of the country so that they can do things that are detrimental to the country so as to make a profit.

              • Draco T Bastard

                On the plus side outside money coming in grows the pie and frees up coin that can be invested else where.

                No it doesn’t. NZ has enough money to utilise it’s resources to the full. The reason why this isn’t happening is because of the dead weight loss of profit. Basically, the rich are preventing the full utilisation of our resources for their own aggrandisement.

                For example the Stevenson group can take their 70 million and start up another 70 million dollar company that employs people and increases the tax take.

                If the physical resources are available to do that then the foreign money will make no difference.

                NZ now has two 70 million dollar companies.

                No it doesn’t. China has one $70m dollar enterprise located in NZ and NZ has one also located in NZ.

              • McGrath

                I agree with your comment on Auckland land prices. How any first home buyer can afford a property in Auckland these days is beyond me.

        • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.2

          First, to require that foreign investment would need to deliver benefits that would be over and above what a New Zealand investor would produce.

          Producing such greater benefits is physically impossible. It will still be our people using our resources and so foreign investment brings nothing to NZ.

          Secondly, to ensure that substantial job creation (for example through the introduction of new technology or new products) and substantial increases in exports are the most important factors to be considered.

          Again, nothing that a foreign investor can actually bring to NZ that a NZ investor couldn’t do. New technology? Either buy it or do some Blue Sky research (a private investor won’t do the latter and so for that we need to rely upon government). And it’s Blue Sky research that we need.

          This does not prevent all foreign investment in New Zealand

          That would be true only if the the people making the decisions are lying to themselves and to us. The restrictions listed should stop all foreign sales.

      • Dumrse 7.1.2

        Data, facts and figures, numbers……. Convince me.
        Aside from that, how many more 180 degree turns are we likely to see in the New Labour manifesto?

        • BM 7.1.2.1

          As you say, if Labour can produce some data that demonstrates that foreign purchases of NZ land is bad for NZ than I’d agree with what they’re saying as would a lot of people.

          At the moment though, it just looks like a desperate attempt to grab votes by dog whistling at the dumb,ignorant xenophobic whitey who can’t cope with a changing NZ.

          • RedLogix 7.1.2.1.1

            if Labour can produce some data that demonstrates that foreign purchases of NZ land is bad for NZ

            So why was it that the nice Mr Key didn’t seem to need any data when he was so concerned with us all becoming “tenants in our own land” then?

            Or is it simply that history provides all the data any fool would need?

          • Matthew Whitehead 7.1.2.1.2

            I kinda feel like the burden of proof belongs with the people who are into selling off (or buying up) significant NZ assets. The case OUGHT to be obvious that it’s as much a win for us as it is for them, otherwise if they want into the country they can form a partnership with a NZ company or lease the land.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.3

        The current Labour party is not responsible for previous Labour party decisions.

        That’s a load codswallop. Of course they’re responsible for previous Labour Party decisions. The question is if they’re going to own up to that responsibility or not and if they’re then going to change their policies.

        Have a look at the recent Paul Henry interview of DC, DC explains pretty clearly that Labour have changed their policy (a couple of years ago I believe), and that the people currently in Labour that were involved in the past regarding this issue have changed their minds.

        Which actually indicates that they have taken that responsibility on and learned from it. Although, haven’t learned enough else they’d be talking about a complete foreign ownership ban.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      If your going to harp on about Lochinver, make sure you give us some comparable data and analysis so as we can see that this particular sale is demonstrably worse than any thing ever undertaken by Labour.

      Each sale is as bad as each other sale. Collectively, it becomes even worse as our Nation loses it’s wealth.

      Tell us why it’s ok for the Poms and Aussies but not for the Asians.

      Why would I do that when I think even ex-pat NZers shouldn’t own land or businesses in NZ. Such ownership is rent seeking and nothing else.

  7. karol 8

    Jamie Whyte’s non-argument on The Nation: Private land in New Zealand is not owned by New Zealanders, whoever owns it.

    So he’s saying buyers and sellers of private land have no allegiance to a country, just to the market.

    • left for dead 8.1

      Like to see him challenge a NZ goverment on that,particularly,Air space an underground.I think he will find the State has a lot to say on this subject.

    • sabine 8.2

      sovereignty, who needs it. 🙂

    • Macro 8.3

      I think he is using the argument that the real “owner” of the land is the Queen. People who purchase land are given a Title to a parcel of land which is conferred by The Crown. He is of course incorrect in saying all land is controlled by the Crown. There is a Maori land – and that is specifically owned by Maori. That is what the Land wars were all about! The Treaty recognised that ownership of land was becoming very messy and had to be tidied up so the only way settlers could purchase land was through the Crown who had the responsibility of dealing directly with the Maori owners and purchasing for on sale.
      The fact that Ballance et al acted in an unscrupulous manner was despicable – lead to the 1860’s war- and is the direct cause of the dissatisfaction of today. And many still do not understand the problem – including obviously Whyte.
      So in summary – “technically” he is half right in that the Crown confers the title to the land that is not Maori owned.
      Were we to use this definition of land ownership – the Queen of England is the largest land owner on Earth.

      • Murray Olsen 8.3.1

        I think you’re wrong, Macro. Whyte Power never mentioned the queen. He sees the person holding the title as 100% being the owner, with land being no different from any other commodity.

        • Macro 8.3.1.1

          That is of course the way we all see it.
          I was enlightened on my understanding of Land Title on reading a very comprehensive book on land “ownership” some years back which discussed the concept of land ownership world wide. Interestingly in USA when one buys land then it is 100% yours there being no titular Head of state and no one therefore to confer Title. It’s an ancient concept descending from the days when Kings and Queens conferred land to their cronies (Dukes and Earls etc. who had helped them win a battle or two). Common people had no land whatever and shared the commons.
          It all came to a head on the conquest of America and John Locke was sent off to work out some scheme to confer property when they divided up the land stolen from the Native inhabitants. What we have today is a direct result of that initial legislation in the early 18th C. USA of course rejected that after the War of Independence and established their own property laws.
          NZ is unique (Britian had learnt its lesson from the American situation and initially did not want a bar of these land issues 1/2 way round the world – until it was obvious that the situation was becoming impossible) in that the Treaty recognised indigenous Rights and so there was no wholesale acquisition of land by the Crown on conquest – rather land was acquired by the Crown for on sale.
          Whyte would be well aware of the situation pertaining in the UK – and mistakenly think that that applied to the whole of NZ.

  8. Draco T Bastard 9

    I think a left wing government coming in should declare a moratorium on all sales to foreign persons and entities until they have a referendum asking the people of NZ how they want it to be. That would be a government referendum which would also constrain a future government that decides that it wants to change the rules.

  9. Tracey 10

    in 2010 when key said we cant become tenants in our own land why oh why didnt someone ask him how much land had to be sold to reach that point.

  10. What is even more disconcerting than the land being sold to foreigners and in this case Chinese companies is the fact that they buy this land with soon to be worthless digital/paper/fiat currency because like the US the elite of the Chinese banking and government are printing it like there is no tomorrow. In fact their money printing is much more than the US and the Japanese banks money printing combined.

    They are using it to buy up real world resources such as gold and land. So while they get control over vast swaths of land around the globe as well as huge holdings of real estate in some cases even build for them such as some apartment buildings in London.

    In fact they are exporting their imploding currency system with bubbles they build around the world and by the time we wake up as tenants in our own land their worthless cash will have gone the way of the dodo just like our independence.

  11. JanMeyer 12

    Looking forward to a similarly vigorous post when James Cameron seeks to extend his land holdings in New Zealand … or ‘Mutt’ Lange proposes to acquire another high station for inclusion within a ‘private land protection agreement’ … or are these different?

    • disturbed 12.1

      Time for a referendum before we have nothing left to referenda over.

    • Colonial Viper 12.2

      Don’t worry Jan, the results of the referendum will be just as effective on Mr Cameron as on anyone else.

  12. tsmithfield 13

    This paranoia about overseas land purchases is clearly racist and xenophobic. This is easy to prove through the following bit of simple logic:

    Proponents of these concerns protest that the issues relate to overseas purchases from all nations, not just Chinese. However, the only examples that seem to be put forward are of Chinese purchases despite the fact that Chinese are in the minority of overseas land purchases.

    If those raising concerns were genuinely concerned about overseas purchases generally, then they would be hilighting examples from other nations as well. The fact they only point to Chinese examples therefore is clear racism.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1

      This blatant lie is a lie. It was John Key’s last resort Cray Cray that raised this particular sale. The Greens have opposed offshore foreign ownership for a decade. They do not oppose foreign investment and neither do Labour or Mana for that matter.

      It’s convenient for you to tell the lie, so I don’t suppose you’ll stop; it highlights your ethical and intellectual poverty is all.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.2

      Your simple logic (because that’s all you’re capable of and we’re really not sure of that either) simply refuted.

      • tsmithfield 13.2.1

        I stand by everything I said in the previous post.

        Those examples that make the media from political sources relate to Chinese purchases, not other nations. This is despite the fact that Chinese land purchases are only four percent of all foreign land sales. If those politicians involved in publicising these sales were genuinely concerned, they would point to sales from other nations as well. They don’t. Hence they are blatantly racist.

        • Draco T Bastard 13.2.1.1

          Of course you will. Like all weak people you can’t admit when you’re wrong.

          And, yes, I did notice that you changed it from “proponents” to “politicians”.

          • tsmithfield 13.2.1.1.1

            That was a mere qualification since you seem to have difficulty in grasping the point. Notice in my first post I was referring to proponents in relation to those putting up examples. The people who have been putting up examples have been politicians. Hence, the words proponents and politicians are one in the same in this context.

            • Draco T Bastard 13.2.1.1.1.1

              Hence, the words proponents and politicians are one in the same in this context.

              No, they’re not. Politicians happen to be a subset of proponents but even the politicians aren’t just talking about Chinese buyers.

              • tsmithfield

                As I said, the examples they have cited have been about Chinese though. I agree they have been talking about other nations as well. However, the fact they only point to examples of Chinese purchases when there have been many more sales to other nations demonstrates their talk is mere tokenism to paper over their blatant racism against Chinese.

                • Have you considered that the Chinese examples are cited because they are the most transparently about takeover of economic assets as part of an aggressive investment policy?

                  I have no problem with Chinese investors, but like everyone else, unless a really strong benefit for NZ is demonstrated for their owning the land, they should just form a partnership or lease the land. And honestly, I can’t think of a single reason that a legitimate business enterprise that benefits NZ wouldn’t be able to operate through leases or partnerships with land owners instead.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Here, for example, is the Green Party in 2004 protesting against Shania Twain’s land purchase:

                  Green Party Co-leader Rod Donald said the sale would send a message to the world’s wealthy that New Zealand is up for sale.

                  “I applaud the Government for placing public access and conservation caveats on the sale,” said Mr Donald. “But I deplore the sale of another slice heaven to absentee owners with no links or loyalty to this country.

                  “If people from overseas think New Zealand is worth the investment, then they should be making our country their home and actively contributing to our society.”

                  He added: “The Kiwi dream of owning a bach at the beach or beside a lake is now just that: a dream which will never come true for most of us.

                  “Meanwhile, young farmers’ hopes of owning their own land are becoming increasingly remote as land prices now bear no relation to their earning potential as farms.”

                  So, blatant lies from the right obscuring the issue. Again.

        • framu 13.2.1.2

          so it only exists if a pollie tells a journo who then manages to get it published?

          really weird way of evaluating what everyone else has been talking about for years

    • disturbed 13.3

      Go back to where else you come from tsmithfield..

  13. Wreckingball 14

    1) We are already ‘tenants in our own land’ in most industries and it does not hurt us. Banking, supermarkets, fuel stations, large retail chains – all owned by overseas people. It doesn’t make a difference to how we live our lives.

    2) When an overseas person spends $70m on land in NZ, that is $70m money sloshing around in the NZ economy. The current owners obviously think that they can use their capital more efficiently, they will invest or set up a new business that will create more jobs.

    3) It is not the government’s land, or new zealanders land, it is a private individuals land. Don’t infringe their property rights.

    4) Cunliffe claims that he will stop this sale if he becomes Prime Minister. He cannot do this and does not have discretion. His proposal is to alter the wording of the Act, basically to the effect that you need to show a substantial benefit in overseas ownership, over and above that if the business was sold to an NZer. This application was made under the current OIO Act and will be determined by the OIO Act. He shouldn’t lie to NZers.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.1
      1. It is hurting us as it’s increasing poverty in NZ
      2. BS. If we just needed more money to do something with our resources then the correct thing to do would be to print more money.
      3. Land cannot be removed from the commons and so it is NZs land
      4. Actually, he can as there are no limits to what the government can do.
      • Wreckingball 14.1.1

        Draco you are speaking out of your proverbial.

        1) There is no evidence of this.
        2) Two different things. If I buy a car off your family, that is more money in your families pockets. True? Yes. If your family prints money then that just devalues the rate at which your families money can be traded with other families money. A very crude example but that is the difference.
        3)You don’y understand property law.
        4) Actually party true, but it would be a bit of a kick in the guts for the rule of law.

        • Draco T Bastard 14.1.1.1
          1. The increasing poverty and deprivation is evidence. House prices are going up. There are numerous factors involved one of which is foreign buyers. This, effectively, is increasing poverty in NZ as more and more people are priced out of housing.
          2. A country isn’t a family and can, as a matter of fact, print money without it devaluing the currency. This is because the money is used to utilise resources that presently aren’t being used. The sale of the land for $70m in foreign currency hasn’t actually made any more resources available and has thus just boosted inflation.
          3. I understand that property law is a result of society and that society can change said law.
          4. Laws change all the time as new information becomes available and attitudes change. If they didn’t we’d still have outright slavery and the aristocracy would still rule (of course, under present law the aristocracy will rule again shortly – unless we a stop to it).
          • Wreckingball 14.1.1.1.1

            Draco mate you are fluffing it.

            Before transaction: total value of pot = $70m = the value of the farm.

            After transaction: total value of pot = $140m = value of farm plus $70m cash to be reinvested by old owners.

            • Draco T Bastard 14.1.1.1.1.1

              Nope.

              Before transaction we have the amount of money in NZ and after the transaction we have the same amount plus $70m. This increase in money will push inflation as there’s been no increase in resources.

              Never mind that the farm probably wasn’t worth $70m in the first place.

              • Not to mention the sale money will probably just be banked and not re-invested, so it’s really more theoretical of a benefit if the vendor doesn’t actually have plans do business in New Zealand with the proceeds, or the purchaser doesn’t have plans to do business here using the land.

                If Pengxin has legitmate business to do in NZ why wouldn’t it be just as easily done through lease or partnership? Then we get the jobs, do not have a large capital transfer that most likely just gets banked, and we aren’t selling the productive parts of our country from underneath our own feet.

    • disturbed 14.2

      Wreckingball Bullshit you have a fitting name wreckingball as you fuck NZ

  14. Draco T Bastard 15

    Especially seeing as Labour were more than happy to sell to people overseas when they were last in government.

    And they were getting strife for doing so. NZers have never wanted to sell our land to overseas interests. The only people who do happen to be the capitalists – most of whom live overseas.

    They were championing the benefits of overseas investment.

    That’s probably because they were listening to a bunch of bought and paid for economists who wouldn’t know what an economy was if they tripped over one.

    To put it simply enough that even a RWNJ could understand it: There is no benefit to foreign ownership or even foreign investment.

    Labour can produce some data that demonstrates that foreign purchases of NZ land is bad for NZ than I’d agree with what they’re saying as would a lot of people.

    Palestine. That’s what happens when a nation loses it’s land.

    • McGrath 15.1

      What about the Crafar farms? The Chinese owners basically resurrected those farms from the Crafars exceptionally poor management.. Surely that’s not a bad thing?

      Not sure if you can use Palestine as an example. The Chinese are (hopefully) not at the stage of bombing us yet.

      • Draco T Bastard 15.1.1

        The Chinese owners basically resurrected those farms from the Crafars exceptionally poor management.

        No they didn’t – Landcorp did.

        Not sure if you can use Palestine as an example.

        The Palestinians have been losing their land to foreign owners so they make a perfect example.

        • McGrath 15.1.1.1

          Either way, foreigners brought it back from the brink.

          Having foreigners buy farms and linking it to Israel bombing the bejesus out of you because you live on God’s holy land is a bit of a stretch.

          • disturbed 15.1.1.1.1

            McGrath you need to travel a bit to see how other countries are being bought out by Foreign interests, you may wake up from your slumber.

            You are just disturbed that the cat is out of the bag, your mat Key has been found out again backroom selling everything before he takes up full residency in Hawaii. Go with him please we don’t want you and your neoliberal junk ideas .

            • McGrath 15.1.1.1.1.1

              I’ve actually done quite a bit of travelling over the years thanks for asking. Syria was my favourite place. The Golan Heights and Quneitra were fascinating, not to mention talking to the Jordanians in Amman about Palestine. Auschwitz was sobering. Europe wasn’t bad. North Africa was fun. I can show you pictures if you wish. I’ve not been to Hawaii though. The States never interested me.

              How about you? We could compare travel stories.

              Not all foreign ownership is bad. Labour allowed it during their time in office, so it cannot have been totally evil.

          • Draco T Bastard 15.1.1.1.2

            Either way, foreigners brought it back from the brink.

            No, they didn’t – they saved the bank a bit of money.

            Having foreigners buy farms and linking it to Israel bombing the bejesus out of you because you live on God’s holy land is a bit of a stretch.

            It’s the same principal just minus the bombs. We lose the land with the inevitable result that we’ll also lose our society and become nothing but serfs. Of course, this is what the plutocrats want and they’re thrilled that a lot of us agree that they should become aristocrats again.

  15. McGrath 16

    Land sales are an emotive issue. As a guess, I’d say the majority of NZ’ers across the political spectrum are opposed to foreign ownership. Personally speaking, I’d rather see land sold to locals.

    If the left can demonstrate conclusively with hard facts that foreign ownership of land is bad, then they will be onto a big election winner. The caveat being that examples used should include non-Chinese. The only examples to have hit the news seem to be Chinese. Like it or not, that comes across as anti-Chinese flavoured with racist undertones.

    • The left don’t have to come up with any examples, there’s never been a solid case made that opening land sales up to foreign investors is a good idea in the first place, and it’s not the international norm.

      Just because the recent examples have been Chinese doesn’t make this a racist issue. There is no historical or systematic prevention of chinese land use, and we open up sales to all ethnically chinese New Zealanders and New Zealand residents. It’s really reaching to try and transmute China’s aggressive foreign acquisitions into a racial issue when most of the parties criticising it have a history of opposing celebrity land purchases that put our land into US hands, too.

      • McGrath 16.1.1

        The perception of race is there however simply by the absence of focus on non-Chinese land acquisitions.

    • framu 16.2

      ” Like it or not, that comes across as anti-Chinese flavoured with racist undertones.”

      sigh – only if you ignore everything that everyone opposed is saying and only use the words of joyce and key to figure the issue out

      its about where you live – not your genetics

  16. Lefty 17

    I own a house and the land it sits on. I have owned farms (along with the bank) in the past.

    I was never delusional enough to think owning the land meant much, but always appreciated being able to occupy it.

    The only fair way to deal with the issue of who should be able to own land is to stop making it possible to own it at all.

    Owning land is a ridiculous concept.

    It really does require incredible mental gymnastics to think you can own something that was there before you were born and will remain after you are gone.

    The planet and the natural resources on it belong to us all and individual ownership is the driving force behind much of the world’s disharmony.

    It is still possible to give individuals, families and communities the ability to decide how the land they rely on to support themselves is used without giving individual title and making sure the right to use it for the common good is paramount.

    • meconism 17.1

      Thank you Lefty, well said. Reminds me of this joke.

      Q: Why do Anarchists drink herbal tea?

      A: Because property is theft.

    • disturbed 17.2

      Well done Lefty,
      These Neoliberal carpetbaggers don’t know what the term “Pay it forward” means or the reason for the concept that was our founding forefathers rule of life.

      But these sad subhuman species that parade as saviours of our economy are the same charlatans who used speculation to cause the global economic crash and depression we have now been in for 6yrs.

      So everyone there, don’t believe their bullshit as they have already brought us to our knees with their mad speculation, and the next few years things will further erode our country if these carpetbaggers keep screwing us all.

  17. Lloyd 18

    After reading all the above I realise no-one is stopping to think about what size a farm should be.
    The Crafar empire surely showed that one person shouldn’t be running large farming areas.
    With a suitable tax structure farms larger than can reasonably be farmed by one farmer should be taxed at a much higher rate than small farms. With a carefully tuned tax structure foreign purchasers of large farms should eventually develop into owners of small farms. Similarly large land holders should be taxed into become much smaller holders. Instead of money the land could be subdivided off to pay the taxes and the land could be balloted to young farmers.
    The alternative is our major industry being turned from small farmers owning the largest exporter as a co-operative – an obviously successful economic model – becoming a farming industry owned by foreigners and New Zealand based corporations.
    The present policies will get rid of the “Mum and Dad” owned farms. Sure worrying about foreign ownership is a worthy concern, but it isn’t everything we should be worrying about when farm ownership is considered.
    Mum and Dad ownership of farms is a social need for all of New Zealand.

  18. TeWhareWhero 19

    Gary Romano who took the fall for the Fonterra botulism scare was head hunted by Shanghai Pengxin –

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11226262

    the company which bought the Crafar farms (the original purchase of which was financed by loans made to Crafar by Fonterra) and which are managed on behalf of Pengxin by the huge SOE Landcorp which is planning to move out of direct land ownership into land management in partnership with the private sector.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/rural/238654/landcorp-moving-more-into-farm-management

    Herald finance pundit says in March : “Don’t read from this that Pengxin is about to rapidly ramp up its operations in New Zealand anytime soon to form itself into a vertically integrated competitor to Fonterra. The company is more likely to look across the Tasman where Chinese investment in the sector is stepping up in advance of expectations that a bilateral free trade agreement will be notched between Australia and China.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11303617

    Hmm – this is the company which has majority holding in the Synlait farms in Canterbury

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/pengxin-synlait-founders-cross-90-percent-threshold-synlait-farms-takeover-bd-149254

    which included being given conservation land.

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Govt-gave-Shanghai-Pengxin-conservation-land/tabid/1607/articleID/355268/Default.aspx

    At present this company with no plans ‘anytime soon to form itself into a vertically integrated competitor to Fonterra’ has a deal in train to buy the 14000 hectare Lochinver Station in the central North Island which the Nats support.

    The Nats launch the accusation of ‘xenophobia’ against anyone who criticises their lunatic short-termism which is nowhere more obvious than in the sale of vast tracts of dairy land to an offshore competitor to the ‘industry’ which has been allowed to become the (very shonky) foundation of our economy.

    It’s bonkers.

  19. Observer (Tokoroa) 20

    To TSSmithfield

    Your numerous posts which scream out the words RACIST and XENOPHOBIC – the same words used by John Key and his strange fellow Peter Dunne, and every Conservative sycophant of the media – are indicative of a lack of concern for the country in which you were born and raised in. Or to which you were accepted as a citizen.

    A country which says it will protect you. A country which gives you Nation Hood and good standing. A nation which you despise. Small minded man. Small regard for the future. A man full of misrepresentation and hate. Like so many misguided Conservatives whom you worship.

    “Breathes there the soul so dead whom never to himself has said this is my own my native land”.

    If you think your fellow citizens who see this land as belonging to its born and bred are worthless then you should up and leave NZ. You are too forlorn for us to want to keep you anyway. Go follow your personal money dream. But get out of our way please.

    At the very least stop screaming lies about your fellow New Zealanders. You cheap shallow man.

  20. Ad 21

    The next Labour Prime Minister should consider abolishing the Overseas Investment Office and thereby make every proposed foreign land purchase over 5 hectares a Ministerial decision, and (say) every proposal over 500 hectares a Cabinet decision.

    Ministers would of course get B/C evaluations from Treasury and MBIE for the decisions, but then every land purchase becomes a political decision, open to the public and to the media. That means every potential investor has to have essentially political backing before they decide to come here.

    Time to politicise New Zealand land.

  21. locus 22

    one of the most stupid and increasingly neoliberal aspects of our incipient banana republic is that ministries which give permission for economic exploitation are also responsible for policing adherence to environmental or ethical or socially responsible behavior
    .
    I can only hope that this division of roles is reinstated by Labour soon after they get voted back in again.when kiwis realise that this is the road to corruption, get rid of key and his ilk, and vote in a leadership team that nzers can be proud of.

  22. Treetop 23

    I am wondering if Lochinver Station is not sold, would there be a backlash from Epsom voters?

    Muldoon tried to be independent when it came to his think big oil refinery so he could have some control over the price of oil. The purchase of Lochinver is to have control over dairy prices. It is yet to be known how much land has been sold to off shore investors, the grade of the land and the access to water. Until there is a register, NO more land sales and after this strict criteria has to be put in place.

    NZ land is not for sale to benefit overseas economic interest.

    • Draco T Bastard 23.1

      NZ land is not for sale to benefit overseas economic interest.

      As it stands, that’s exactly what it’s for sale for. That benefit comes at our countries cost.

  23. Phil 24

    If the OIO has not made a decision then the Government [under Cunliffe] will change the criteria, which it is able to do and the result will likely be that the application will be declined…
    Cunliffe emphasised that to succeed the application would have to show significant benefit over and above the benefit of local ownership.

    Here’s a problem. The Overseas Investment Act 2005 already does this. The criteria and application process are already quite robust, legally speaking.

    See s17, which covers the assessment of criteria that need to be met:

    whether the overseas investment will, or is likely to, result in—

    (i) the creation of new job opportunities in New Zealand or the retention of existing jobs in New Zealand that would or might otherwise be lost; or
    (ii) the introduction into New Zealand of new technology or business skills; or
    (iii) increased export receipts for New Zealand exporters; or
    (iv) added market competition, greater efficiency or productivity, or enhanced domestic services, in New Zealand; or
    (v) the introduction into New Zealand of additional investment for development purposes; or
    (vi) increased processing in New Zealand of New Zealand’s primary products:

    My challenge to Cunliffe would be to explain what he expects to change, or how the threshold for these criteria would change under Labour.

    • Kiwiri 24.1

      Change the two-letter word into three letters:
      change “or” to “and”.

      If want to do more to that law, strengthen the threshold from mere “likelihood” to require demonstrable benefit.

      If want to do even more, insert a conditional, preliminary approval for a specific period that is tied to review that must be undertaken to ensure the legal criteria have been met and benefit demonstrated, before providing another specific approved period that will be reviewable.

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