Have your say: Most foreign land sales would not go through under Labour, Goff says.

Have your say: Most foreign land sales would not go through under Labour, Goff says.

Labour details tougher policy on foreign purchases of NZ land and monopolies. Cunliffe eyes 'dirty float' of NZ$, lower land prices, and talks wealth taxes. Your view?

By Alex Tarrant and Bernard Hickey

Most applications from foreigners to buy rural land in New Zealand would be turned down if Labour got back into power, leader Phil Goff has announced.

Labour outlined its new 'foreign ownership' policy, saying foreigners would not be able to buy land parcels bigger than five hectares, unless economic benefits were to stay onshore.

"We will force would-be buyers of New Zealand rural land to invest in New Zealand and our people by bringing jobs, transferring technology, increasing exports or bringing other benefits for New Zealand," Goff said.

Under the policy foreigners would not be able to own more than 25% of monopoly infrastructure, such as airports and seaports, if their interest were more than NZ$10 million.

Asset purchases over NZ$100 million would also need government sign-off. See the full details of the policy here.

Meanwhile, Labour Finance Spokesman David Cunliffe spoke in a Double Shot interview with Interest.co.nz (see above) in more detail about the policy, including the proposed restrictions on ownership of monopoly assets such as electricity lines networks and railways.

"You don't want to sell out control to the jugular veins of your economy, otherwise others are able to extract monopoly rents or make decisions that potentially might not be in the national interest," Cunliffe said.

He also acknowledged the imposition of such restrictions on foreign purchases of New Zealand land would and should reduce land prices "to some extent."

"Hopefully that process will be managed and be gradual. The days of farming for capital gain rather than the downstream value of the products that are produced are and must be over," he said.

'Dirty float'

Cunliffe also talked about the need for a 'dirty float' of the New Zealand dollar where the Reserve Bank intervened in the currency markets, as well as using supplementary tools.

Labour would investigate a "tax wedge on aggregate inbound financial flows as a potential monetary policy complement to the Official Cash Rate," Cunliffe said, although a Brazilian style tax on foreign investment in bonds was not Labour policy yet.

"Why are doing this? Our exporters are being killed. We've got a Kiwi dollar approaching 80 USc and a Aussie dollar that reached US dollar parity. It's against the background of a global currency war potential which could see the US dollar fall further  and the New Zealand dollar continue to be a cork in the ocean," he said.

"It's just not OK or possible for a small or medium or large exporter to hedge away that risk. Business people need to be able to plan within reasonable how they are going to face global currency markets. There are a number of different models. What we are proposing is New Zealand moves away from a free and ultra-pure float to a 'dirty' float where the Reserve Bank is intervening more often and more aggressively to put up the costs and risks on speculators."

Wealth taxes

Cunliffe said Labour was still considering its policy on wealth taxes, when asked about a capital gains tax or a land tax.

"Somebody is going to have to provide the means to both grow our economy and protect some of the most vulnerable," he said.

Fed Farmers concerned

Meanwhile Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson said the group was waiting to see the detail of Labour's new policy.

“Things are not black and white. It’s incredibly complex so the last thing we need is for it to be interpreted overseas as a possible political veto on foreign investment," Nicolson said.

“We have to be very careful about the signals we send.  82 percent of the $17.2 billion New Zealand Superannuation Investment Fund is for instance, invested overseas," he said.

 “What’s also missing is a real debate around the principles underpinning foreign investment.  Somehow we’ve skipped to solutions instead of understanding why we allow direct foreign investment into New Zealand and why New Zealanders invest overseas.

“In 2009, Kiwis were the sixth largest ‘foreign investors’ in Queensland, buying 2,669 land parcels worth almost AUD60 million, according to Queensland’s Foreign Ownership of Land Register.

“I think if the shoe was on the other foot, you’d have many people crying foul.

“It’s why our starting point is not in the negative but the positive.  Irrespective of whether they’re from Manila or Manitoba, the New Zealand farm system can be made better by the people who enter it from outside of New Zealand."

'Populist politics'

At his post-cabinet press conference on Monday afternoon, Prime Minister John Key labeled Labour's move as populist politics. See the full story here.

"That will require companies that are listed, like Auckland Airport…to actually have a limit on their foreign shareholdings," Key said.

"That will mean that foreigners, if they go up to their limit, and the company has 25% of their shares foreign owned, then those foreign owners will be able to sell to other foreign owners, but the domestic market would not be able to sell their shares to foreign owners."

"My view would be, yes we want to own a significant amount of assets, if we can. The surest way of completing that objective is for New Zealanders to save more, for New Zealand to be a competitive economy and plus to invest in their own assets."

Key said the rebalancing that had taken place over the last 18 months had put New Zealand in a stronger position for that.

"If New Zealanders save more, they'll buy more New Zealand assets."

Here are Goff's comments in his speech to the Labour Party conference:

We need more savings, and our innovators and exporters need more New Zealand capital. We will bring them together.

Labour will go to next year’s election with clear plans that go further than New Zealand has gone before in lifting our savings and investment.

We have to, because we need to own more of the wealth generating economy.

New Zealand cannot spend our way to prosperity.

We cannot borrow our way to higher incomes or to better jobs.

Instead of selling New Zealand off, what we need to do is make it more attractive for New Zealanders who have something to save to put more into New Zealand.

We will back Kiwi firms.

When we build new trains for Kiwirail, we will look first to build them in Dunedin and the Hutt Valley by Kiwis who have the skills to do it.

Increasing our savings will allow us to own more of our future.

It is time we reconsidered what we get from the sale of farm land offshore, and what are the costs.

Kiwi farmers are the most efficient in the world.

We are not going to make them more efficient by making more of them  overseas owned.

Selling off our farmland won’t increase production or export earnings.

There are big overseas buyers with money to burn who want to control and own the supply chain for food production.

Instead of adding value to production here in New Zealand, they could decide to do it overseas.

That would cost us jobs.

They’re coming here to buy what’s currently ours and they will be doing it more often.

We are more vulnerable as land values fall.

Assets like the Crafar farms have been put up at the behest of banks.

But what is in the banks' interest is not always in the wider interests of New Zealand.

We are at risk of our land being priced on an international market beyond the reach of New Zealanders.

When New Zealanders have to compete against overseas buyers, we have to ask ourselves - what will happen if the prices paid lock us out of owning our own land?

Where does it end up if we say to ambitious young New Zealanders that you can only buy into our best and productive assets if you come from overseas or you are born into a wealthy family.

That is not the New Zealand I want.

No overseas person has the right to buy our land - it is a privilege.

It is a privilege we have granted too easily.

Today you have my commitment that Labour will turn the rules on selling land to foreigners on their head.

We’ll guarantee that New Zealand’s interests are put first.

We will reverse the presumption that any foreign purchase of our rural land is good for New Zealand.

This will mean that rather than most applications from foreign buyers going through, most will be turned down.

Buyers will have to prove that selling land to them will be good for our economy.

We will force would-be buyers of New Zealand rural land to invest in New Zealand and our people by bringing jobs, transferring technology, increasing exports or bringing other benefits for New Zealand.

These rules will apply to sales of rural land over 5 hectares.

We will also introduce new rules around investment in monopoly infrastructure to guarantee these crucial assets, such as airports, seaports and water services remain in New Zealand hands.

And of course, Labour will stop the privatisation of our public assets.

We’ll keep them community-owned and therefore New Zealand-owned.

We don’t believe the sale of our farmland or monopoly infrastructure is in our interests.

But other foreign direct investment is and we encourage it.

If you want to buy into New Zealand, then you will have to bring something to offer New Zealand.

If you do, we will welcome you.

And if you don’t, we won’t let you.

I’ve spent many years representing New Zealand around the world, and no country I can think of would find the rules I am proposing unusual.

Here are the comments from Federated Farmers

Federated Farmers is looking forward to receiving the detail behind Labour’s newly announced foreign investment policy, as it similarly awaits detail from the Government.

“Federated Farmers wishes to take a principles approach to foreign investment in farmland, as it will be a major item before our November National Council,” says Don Nicolson, Federated Farmers President.

“Five hectares may be in the Overseas Investment Act, but as a farmer, five hectares might as well be 50 square metres. It’s important we understand the detail behind Labour’s new policy and for that matter, the Government’s recently announced changes.

“For us the property right is sacrosanct.  What is farm policy today, could tomorrow become shares in a New Zealand company or for that matter, a unit in Takapuna.

“Things are not black and white. It’s incredibly complex so the last thing we need is for it to be interpreted overseas as a possible political veto on foreign investment.

“We have to be very careful about the signals we send.  82 percent of the $17.2 billion New Zealand Superannuation Investment Fund is for instance, invested overseas. 

“The Government is itself borrowing $413 a second, or $250 million a week, to help take the sharp edges off the recession.  Doing that may help insulate the domestic economy but it massively increases pressure on the already high Kiwi dollar.

“Appreciating the vast amounts of foreign money coming into New Zealand makes you look at an ATM machine in a whole new light.

“What’s also missing is a real debate around the principles underpinning foreign investment.  Somehow we’ve skipped to solutions instead of understanding why we allow direct foreign investment into New Zealand and why New Zealanders invest overseas.

“In 2009, Kiwis were the sixth largest ‘foreign investors’ in Queensland, buying 2,669 land parcels worth almost AUD60 million, according to Queensland’s Foreign Ownership of Land Register.

“I think if the shoe was on the other foot, you’d have many people crying foul.

“It’s why our starting point is not in the negative but the positive.  Irrespective of whether they’re from Manila or Manitoba, the New Zealand farm system can be made better by the people who enter it from outside of New Zealand.

“That’s why refining Federated Farmers policy on foreign investment at our National Council will be led by principles,” Mr Nicolson concluded.

(Updates with Fed farmers comments, Key comments, Cunliffe comments)

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.

51 Comments

Comment Filter

Highlight new comments in the last hr(s).

 "...if Labour got back into power..."

Jeez I feel sick...gotta go throw up me breakfast...sorry........blurrrrrph

Dont worry Wolly, that isnt going to happen....Phil who??   he is the best ally that Key has got.

Statements like this are vote catchers ....no GST on food....yeah right.

Labour are returning to the past...thats all they know.

Hey realist...when are we going to get the full monty from Carter....he promised the dirt...is he having trouble sorting it into the 'utterly filthy pile' and the 'just plain dirt heap'....

Yeh could be quite interesting for the Labour leadership....they will be ducking for cover.

Carter went from small pimple to a large boil .....with not much effort.

Cant wait for the book......but then again ....could be like all Labour promises....never eventuate.

Phil Goff just waffles. I'd doubt he'd or his party would have the conviction to go through with any of the blazen statements that pour from this gob.

and Labour they are proposing a capital gain tax too. hmmm... have cast the odd vote their way in the past, but they are of no use now. seem to be running the '1d1 OT error' of see through policies.

Racist, thieving, tall poppistic, lying, cheating self serving snout in the trough, win at all cost - which is actually a loss fools.

Bring back Winston, at least he knew hard workers from the sloth even if he was a bit one eyed in days now past...

Phil brings a whole new meaning to Labour Pains....

This is populist demorcracy at it's worst. Labour doesn't care about selling farms at all, it just wants to get back into power so its can start taking over people's lives and redistributing assets.

It makes me sick when they talk about the Government having more involvement in the economy like Singapore.

Singapore is not a populist democracy so can take a long term view to the best interests of the country. It also has professional managers running the country with skills and experience. Not the current Multiple Muppets Parade ("MMP") we have in power here.

Also, Singapore has a very low flat tax rate, user-pays and a minimal welfare system. NZ should be adopting these!!

I can't stand people who say that we should override farmers' private property rights by prohibiting them from selling land to foreigners!!! Residential housing is also build on land. If we are serious about selling land to foreigners, we should prohibit all land sales, including residential property. In fact, high residential housing prices, inflated by foriegn purchases, impacts far more people than farm land. Will this happen - no, because people are happy if the policies only impact other people's wealth, not their own. It is a discrace!!!.

Human's need 4 things to survive - food, water, energy and shelter. If we are concerned about control of these things. Sales of all of these, should be restricted.

i agree with you GG....all that comes out of Labour these days are just feeble attempts grab the politically illiterates vote but it won't happen as most people nowadays seem to be a bit more aware and can see these naked grabs for ratings as the bullshite they are.

to join Labour or National used to mean you aspired to follow their core values and that you stayed staunch to the ethos of the party...now we have flip-flops daily from Labour?

if Labour aren't careful they may just vanish into the slipstream of history.

the killer in the pack to watch out for thought is that ANDREW LITTLE from the Unions.

he's the power behind the clone ( Goff) and he is terrifyingly mobilising his Union army and that spells a return to strikes and social dislocation.

none of them care about us ...only power...Michelle Boag on Q&A y/day said all Goff's problems could be solved if he dyed his hair and looked Junger?

worth a try , Phil...and don't forget... all you people in Labour are fruits and vegetables so start practicing by reducing the GST on yourselves!!

Oh dear - labour was the one who initiated the free trade deal idea. How is it going to work if they (the people in country we signed up to) want to buy land here???? I see that Fonterra is looking to buy farms in China..  !!!!

Typical Labour is looking for a headline.  What a bunch of RED necks.

Fonterra has been 'asked' by the Chinese government to invest in more farms in China.  It is not in Fonterra's interest to say 'No'. 

Fonterra does not 'buy' farms as you cannot buy land in China.  You can rent or lease land and build the farm on it- and then only if the local government approve.  So you may not get too much choice about where the farm will be located.

Have just attached the policy doc (only registered users can access it).

About to go through it, should be a few gems.

Cheers

Alex

Any realist casting a weather-eye upon global trends knows there is a great reconning for the hundred years of debt/wealth creation that has stripped bare the western middle class.  The top 1% who hold trillions of dollars in paper assets will be looking for any hard assets to buy, especially outside Europe and America.  There may be a short-term sugar rush from the boom in land prices, but the resulting inflation will cripple our domestic real estate market and leave us vulnerable to a post boom collapse. 

Our property market is already two or three times overpriced to withstand any extraordinary deviations.  At present, we seem to have escaped an explosion of our bubble and prices are edging downward - while lending standards and household balance sheets are returning to historical means.  This has enabled us to escape the IMF crisis managers currently at work in Dublin, Athens and Lisbon.  

My hope is for the powers-that-be to push the plate away from themselves and reflect on whether a second helping is really called for.  Given the past twenty years of decision-making, I hold out little hope for prudent restraint.  Was it Jamie Dimon who said: " I'll keep dancing as long as the music is playing?"

 
 

Justin Case anyone has forgotten , the core tenet of the founding Labour Party was a cradle-to-grave welfare state for all New Zealanders .

As appalling as Goofy's comments are , they reflect this Nanny-State belief .

The problem in NZ is that every 3 years at the ballot box , voters are bribed by someone else's munny ( WFF ! There's a doozy ) ............. and are too lazy to think through the ramifications of those policies .

Halting foreign investment will buy Labour many votes . As will taking GST off fruit and vege . Piling munny back into early childhood centres . ........ All good vote buying stuff .......... But what are the unforseen consequences and costs , Goofy ? ............ Goofy ! Put Clarabelle down .......... oh , I see , you're lining up the dairy industry for a super profits milk tax ( call it a carbon tax , and no one will be any the wiser ! )

Mabey thats what Globalisation was all about..The fact of buying, a Country instead of going to War and grabbing it?..

"It was goodbye Tina, hello Tara. The Thatcherite new right dictum of There Is No Alternative has given way to There Are Real Alternatives."

 http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10681298 

Hmm, methnks I've heard that somewhere before ...

Am glad it's catching on, because there are real alternatives and we should get on developing and implementing them.

Am also glad they haven't ruled out a capital gains tax - I'd like to see a more balanced tax system where PAYE and corps get stung less than they are now. There is no need to go after the "rich pricks" just go after (INFLATIONARY - we all suffer in that way too)  wealth generation that isn't taxed now.

Cheers, Les.

www.mea.org.nz

So Bernard's buddy David Cunliffe is gonna be a " hands-on " and " interventionalist "  finance minister ............ Are New-Olde Labour  implying that Michael Cullen wasn't heavily involved in the economy , enough ! Bloody hell .

We will force would-be buyers of New Zealand rural land to invest in New Zealand and our people by bringing jobs, transferring technology, increasing exports or bringing other benefits for New Zealand.

The above comment shows how little he understands rural business and farming. 

Bringing jobs: Is he supporting the destruction of Fonterra by allowing foreign companies to come and set up milk processing plants?  After all if it is only a farm foreigners buy, it will already be fully staffed, so simply buying a farm will bring no extra jobs - no matter how Natural Dairy et al might like it to appear otherwise.

transferring technology: We have some of the most sophisticated agriculture/processing technology in the world.

increasing exports: Highly unlikely if they are only buying farmland.

bringing other benefits for New Zealand. Such as?

Has Goff forgotten that it was actually the last labour govt that had far more to do with pushing up the land prices than any foreign investors? Does he not recall buying St James station for 40mil? I was looking at buying farmland about the time and Landcorp were more often that not, out bidding kiwi family farmers for the best farms. Whilst I dont necessarily disagree with the tone of his message I find the hypocrisy breathtaking.

p { margin-bottom: 0.21cm; }

We can solve this problem by putting 100% capital gains tax on any farms sold by overseas buyers. Then we will not have many speculators buying.

I trust the new land ownership policy will add a sunset clause for land currently owned from overseas. Something like (a) when sold it has to go through the vetting process again and (b) that land in the other-than-individual ownership such as companies or trusts will also need to satisfy change of beneficial ownership constraints.

Maybe the farmers who are complaining should ask themselves why their land values are out of step with the earning capacity of the business they operate there.  For many of them (possibly most of them) it is too much a lifestyle choice over business sense.

Labour's Little will have the right..oops, the left answer to this problem...right Little!....just nationalise all the farms...do a Chavez on the landowning capitalists pigs..right Little!...see...it's easy when you know how state thieving works...Goofy loses in 2011 and the knives come out...Little bits of Goofy will be chopped off until nout remains and then we will have Little to promise us a Utopia of little.....right Little!

Wolly,

Is there something in the water where you are?

Stick to the beer, mate.

Probably stock pee Basel......it lends a sort of character to the coffee...might be 1080!

Well Labour will need the Greens to win and National needs the Maoris, so look to see what the Greens and Maoris say about things, because they will want to be listened to when it comes to coalition talks.

Have just had it explained that Maori Party may not be too happy with any capital gains or land tax, unless iwi lands/properties exempted.  Greens are wanting it.

But, If land/property prices do go southwards, then who would want a capital gains tax as it would let those facing a loss to claim a capital loss, which then costs heaps rather than gathering revenue.

It's all BS Muzza....takes an army of beaurocrats just to run it and that means more taxes to pay for pointy heads.

How could capital gains affect Maori land, it's inalienable isn't it?

Everything is for sale at a price!

yes you could sell it at a loss to your kids and claim back the cash to give the kids some dough to furnish the place and a to take a year long trip around the world for their honeymoon - in the meantime as they will be overseas any existing tenants could stay in place until their return...

that is just another reason not to have CGT as it will be abused - unless there is a ratio of 3 pointy heads to every property transaction. waste of time.

to save the country money, just stop giving money away to able bodied people on a weekly basis, and have people justify why they should be on the 'rock and role' otherwise take their benefits off them.

 

 

 

Who is the bloke in the photo behind Goofy.... http://www.3news.co.nz/Labours-foreign-land-U-turn-not-enough---Greens/tabid/419/articleID/181850/Default.aspx....it looks like Carter!

Scarey thought that when your attention is elsewhere , Chris Carter comes in behind yer  !

Is it him or not?

I don't think is it . But why take chances ....... Grab yer britches and haul arse outta there !

Cool! Does that mean I get to buy NZ property at a higher yield?

Good lord, the luddite stupidity and economic plus philosophic ignorance of Cunnliffe and Goff seems to know no bounds. And you should be worried, Bernard, that most of your opinion pieces lately on foreign ownership and State control of capital flows could be directly from the mouths of these two publicity seeking fools, whom seem to have had no ability to learn from the dismal history of planned economies, and of Keynesian economics, in the 20th and 21st  century.

Kim Jong, Tweedle Goff and Tweedle Cunnliffe would piss away the final limited prosperity and freedoms we have managed to eek out of that small part of our economy we could still call open against the totalitarian wall of fortress, vis a vis, Gulag New Zealand.  

And what a pleasant surprise to see Fed Farmers holding forth so wisely on this topic: a little light in all the darkeness.

I thought so , too . A rare and pleasant experience to see Fed Farmers making some good sense .

BH, your not a Labour party policy writer are ya??

 

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10681297

 

I would hate to see a comprehensive capital gains tax introduced here. We already have one for house flippers, IRD just needs to actually follow through with current laws.

No chance of it being repealed once introduced.

BH, didnt realise you gave a talk at the Labour party conference????

Yep. Andrew Little asked me to give my views on the economy and policy. I gave my regular spiel. Last year they had a guy from Fed Farmers.

I've done a similar thing for an ACT party function.

Often do this sort of thing for most people who ask.

Most stuff I say people don't agree with, but I try to get people thinking and start a debate.

cheers

Bernard

Any 'nanny state' ideas Bernard? They always love those

Fair enough.

Speaking of ACT, any chance of getting Roger Douglas in for a Double Shot?

There IS a simple homily that NZ-ers would do well to consider. If we don't sell land to overseas people, it does have an effect on our balance of payments, that will have to be compensated elsewhere. If we want to tighten our belts now, or else just borrow even more money offshore, fine. Any guesses what PhilGoff will do?

That German Cabinet Minister was right to tell Greece to sell some islands. If they don't like that, they need to live on less. But they set fire to half the Athens CBD last time the government tried to tell them this.

Economic Darwinism at work. "Owning" "assets" that cost us money year after year, like railways and airlines, is a similar phenomenon.

The advantage of a world in which all nationalities can buy and sell each other land, is that if a nation wishes to live beyond its means for a bit, there is another way to do it other than just borrowing money. If you get near bankruptcy just borrowing money, that is the problem you must face, just like a bankrupt person might face losing assets.

What would NZ be like to live in today if the original inhabitants had not been prepared to sell land? Someone described it as "Fiji with snow".

Fred, Maori trusts these days own quite a bit of property , including casinos, not just traditional tribal lands.  Trouble with capital gains is there will be so many special interest groups wanting exemptions it will be a nightmare. If you own a house why of course that should be exempted, if you own a farm, why of course that should be exempted etc, in the end all thay'll get will be some of Olly Newman's proerties, may be not even that because he'll probably be one junp ahead anyway. Bit like Labour's proposal to exempt some items of GST, all that will succeed in doing is opening up the hornest's nest for other 'more' worthy items to be exempted.  But if the economy is tanking then populism will win the vote amongst the mass of discontent

If they do introduce a comprehensive capital gains tax it will also capture all those ma & pa businesses when sold off, likewise long term holdings in shares etc.

BH would have to pay tax when (if) he sells interest.co.nz, having built it from the ground up.

I think there are too many unintented consequences in introducing a comprehensive capital gains tax just for the purpose of weening people out of the housing market. Like the depreciation changes, I have yet to hear about any long term property investors grissling about the changes, yet have seen numerous NZX listed companies report lower profits due to the changes.

So how is whatever BH, or Ma & Pa make not income? If it is; tax it. Just because it comes from asset appreciation, is it any less 'income'? Hopefully, that will flevel the field, and then we can all pay 20%, flat, or less!

Taxing "capital gains" is BS.  If anything changes in real value it's only ever because it's been improved and it can only be effort and ingenuity that achieves this.  Improvements are carried out using after tax income, so any gain has already been taxed.  If land/property goes up in price and nothing has been done to it then that's inflation and why should the government get any income from that?

If you wanted to purist about taxing capital gains it should be charged on both the imputed or realised gain.  Why should someone who doesn't sell get a free ride?  And why stop there, what about owner occupied houses, let's tax the imputed rental.

So the 10 acres that was subdivided in Rangiora in 2001; sold for $75 k, then $125k; then last at $355k in 2007- and hasn't been touched, development wise, just flipped, has increased in real value , how? If you want to adjust for an indicator, say CPI, fine, otherwise tax it! And, yes: tax imputed rent . After all, isn't that what it's all about? "Saving' for our retirement ( other savings, after all are taxed?)

House & section flipping should be covered under the tax laws for trading, i.e. the capital gain is deemed your income because thats the business your in, so it is payed at income tax levels. Only the IRD wasnt really chasing these people at the time, like they do with share traders etc.

The foreign investment has already gone too far. AND LABOUR started it! So this whole thing is hypocritical much like their attack on the GGS which THEY put in place with finance companies included.

Why not just allow foreign investors to only  'lease the land' rather than buy it freehold.  Much of our forests are already owned by overseas companies, largely the US, so the gov has already missed the boat.

Opposition parties make always reasonable sense while talking (listen today), but often coming into power –  forgotten – just promises they were.

Bernhard, why not have regularly “Hard Talks” with some of the government ministers ?   

Why Brownlee, Heatley, Joyce, Power, English and others not comment more publicly on important issues, including here with 5 -15 tough questions coming from you and important, y(our) blogger community ?

That would initiate real progress and interesting debates on your blog and elsewhere. What happening in the last months is often tiring – arguing about zero - going around the circle.

Considering the worldwide circumstances, I think there is urgency for visionary ideas and changes.