Key defends Shanghai Pengxin investment in Crafar Farms and OIO process for Lochinver sale; Joyce accuses Labour of xenophobia; Fed Farmers concerned about sale

Key defends Shanghai Pengxin investment in Crafar Farms and OIO process for Lochinver sale; Joyce accuses Labour of xenophobia; Fed Farmers concerned about sale

By Bernard Hickey

With 47 days until the September 20 election, here's my daily round-up of political news from in and around Wellington on Monday, August 4, including Prime Minister John Key defending Shanghai Pengxin's investments to improve the run-down Crafar Farms and supporting what he said was an "arguably more difficult" Overseas Investment Office (OIO) process to assess Shanghai Pengxin's bid for Lochinver.

Key was commenting on TVNZ Breakfast after a debate over the weekend over the bid for the 13,800 ha sheep, beef and dairy support property on the Napier-Taupo highway.

He said the OIO had approved around 39,000 ha of sales each year since the rules were changed in 2010, which was about "half the run rate under Labour."

He also defended Shanghai Pengxin's investment in improving the run-down Crafar Farms and pointed to its distribution links in China.

"Shanghai Pengxin is developing and has amazing distribution systems in China, and that's underpinning Kiwi jobs here in New Zealand," he said.

Earlier, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said on The Nation the issue of land sales to foreigners would be a bottom line in any government-forming negotiations.

"If we were on the cross-benches with the balance of power as well, we would stop this deal," he said, later issuing a statement and a tweet saying: "We will not work in any arrangement with any party that allows our land to fall into the hands of foreign owners."

Federated Farmers concerned

Meanwhile, Federated Farmers President William Rolleston said he was "frankly uneasy" about the sale of Lochinver to Shanghai Pengxin and concerned it may not provide sufficient benefit to New Zealand.

He called for the Government to do more research into the extent of foreign investment in farmland.

"The reality is that here, no one knows how much of our farmland or housing is foreign owned. To base critical economic policy decisions around a hunch is unacceptable. We also hope the OIO will be able to share what the ‘substantial and identifiable benefit’ to New Zealand is with the proposed overseas sale of Lochinver Station," Rolleston said.

Joyce vs Robertson

Grant Robertson and Steven Joyce squared up against each other in a combative debate over foreign ownership, dairying and economic development on The Nation .

Joyce accused Labour of xenophobia and described Lochinver as a "ridiculously small amount of land," which was much less than the 90,000ha a year sold when Labour was in Government. He pointed to investments made by Shanghai Pengxin in the Crafar Farms and challenged Robertson to oppose the sale of land to James Cameron in the Wairarapa.

Robertson said a sale such as Lochinver to a foreign buyer was "highly unlikely" under Labour. "We want to make sure that there are jobs generated when there is foreign investment, that it’s more than a New Zealand company that owns it," he said.

David Parker accused Joyce of "extreme rudeness" in the debate.

"His belligerent blustering behaviour was designed to hide the fact National promised to tighten up on land sales at the time of the Crafar farm sales. But in reality it hasn’t," Parker said.

"New Zealanders do not like this sort of double-speak from politicians, and Steven Joyce knows it," he said.

National’s support for selling off New Zealand farmland to overseas investors will result in more and more environmental degradation from dairy intensification, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.

Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin has confirmed that it is aiming to buy a $70 million farm, Lochinver Station, in the central North Island, which would be the second-largest foreign purchase of New Zealand land. The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) is currently reviewing the Lochinver Station deal, which would need the approval of two Government ministers before going ahead.

Greens warn on dairy intensification

Green Co-Leader Russel Norman said the OIO must consider the environmental impacts of any Lochinver sale, given the station is situated on the upper reaches of the Ripia that flows into the Mohaka River, and is also situated on the source of the Rangateiki River.

“Lochinver station is at present a mixed farm involving beef, sheep and dairy. Any intensification of dairy farming at Lochinver risks polluting both these rivers," Norman said, adding Shanghai Pengxin was expected to maximise Lochinver's dairy capacity," Norman said.

“Under this, and any future National Government, more and more farmland will be sold into foreign ownership and converted to dairy. A future Government involving the Green Party would look to progress legislation, already drafted, that would restrict foreign investors from purchasing New Zealand farmland,” he said.

Minor party news

Conservative Party CEO and former Families Commissioner Christine Rankin announced on Sunday she would stand in Epsom. Some feared it might split the centre-right vote in Epsom.

Key said Rankin "doesn't have a dog's show in Epsom," adding National's polling showed about 70% of Epsom voters planned to give their party vote to National and a "fair few" would give their electorate vote to ACT's David Seymour.

Peter Dunne announced the top 11 members on the United Future list, including himself and 10 other men.

Elsewhere, Jamie Whyte released ACT's policy to grow GDP by a third by cutting the corporate tax rate to 12.5% by 2020.

He cited Ireland's success in attracting foreign investment when it cut its corporate rate to 12.5%. ACT would pay for it by abolishing corporate welfare and abolishing the emissions trading scheme. His speech included a bibliography with academic sourcing.

(Updated with Green comment on the Lochinver sale)

See all my previous election diaries here.

See the index for's special election policy comparison pages here.

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?

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Joyce accused Labour of xenophobia.  Classic example of avoiding the issue.  Can't defend what's gong on, then pull out the race card.  This is madness..even worse than the asset sales.  A thumbs down for me as i continue to vote float...

Prehaps Joyce could accuse Fed. Farmers of racism?

Surely National can't blow this election.   If they do it will be their arrogant attiutde to blame.

They seem to be working hard to achieve it though. I dont knw whos digging a hole faster, Cunliffe of Key at times.

Going by the economic theory of some "leading" economists  (cough, Laffer, cough) ACT's policies should be wonderful. Going by the actual example of places that have put ACTs policies into effect, not so wonderful.
I would prefer my Government's policy to be reality based, though I realise Jamie Whyte has published papers arguing why evidence based policies are a bad thing, so I don't think we will ever be in aggreement in this area.

Im sorry but evidence based papers are a bad thing? as opposed to la la land make believe?
He also seemed to not consider that Ireland is in the EU and hence a 14% tax rate simply moved employment from elsewhere in the EU to Ireland.  Companies had to be in the EU zone to trade freely. There isnt such factors here in NZ at play, even it its valid economics which I somehow doubt.
Laffer curve is interesting, though I suspect that curve peak is in the 70% tax range and not 10%, if it exists ie is there any evidence? oh wait, la la land economics at play.
Seems very american and very much a failure. The Bush tax cuts are a prime example, yet I assume Act will get a MP.  If nothing else investment only occurs if there isnt over-capacity...and I doubt myself that the rich or most of them actually produce a good. ie I think they invest in hedge funds and are nothng more than parasitic.

Reading the article and some links through from the needs to be highlighted that the tax-cuts were not implemented unitil the start of 2013......personally I think it was bad journalism and poosibly quite political that the article had a strong tone discrediting what had been implemented in Kansas....
I think it is important to note that 16000 business's failed in Kansas.....those businesses would have been on the line for some time so cutting the tax was prudent and most likley saved many more from going under......Kansas has also suffered from a drought which has had large impacts upon it.
If you prefer reality based Government policy then you will know that nothing turns around overnight  business gets going bit by bit week by week as first the businesses have to earn the income before any taxation can take place. Everything gets ploughed into start-up before and it can take a while before the business gains momentum.
Given that the policy has only been in for 18 months and the date of the article being July 10, and the year up unitl July 10 had seen the 15000 new businesses formed then it is far too soon to be getting any economic improvement from these policies and far to soon to say it doesn't work......It also so take around 5 years for businesses to get well established and a high percentage fail in the first 5 years and that is a reality. It is also a reality that turning around bad business, bad Government debts etc doesn't happen over-night !!!!! 
Maybe consider how many more businesses would have gone to the wall if those tax cuts had not been many more people would have been unemployed due to those businesses going would the State of Kansas funded itself if large percentages of the businesses had failed?

16000 stopped trading and 15000 started trading, quite possibly all restarted in order to take advantage of the zero tax they would pay.  Also on the pass through is a comment on how well California is doing because of tax increases So lets say you are clearly cherry picking.
In terms of improvement well when things significantly collapse comapred to states that did no such thing and better is achieved in a state that increased, well taht seems a pretty compelling arguemnt to me.
Oh and throw in the Bush tax cuts, zero gain off much evidence do you need...
In your case infinite I guess, never mind you just have 1 vote eh.

Why would anyone stop a business and then restart it?   There is no benefit is doing that!! The tax-cuts took place for all business so no need for existing business to stop quite possibly your assumptions are way off the mark again!!!
There will be a lag time before any benefits show up.......
You seem to think you can endlessly tax one group in society and redistribute at your leisure to those who you think are more deserving.........have you ever considered what happens when those businesses cannot afford to keep operating because the redistirbution is taking more than what a business can earn?  It's quite simple....if you suck something dry there is nothing left !!! But you wouldn't care would'd move onto your next target......and do the same thing over and over......the funny thing about cherry picking is that one picks the ripe won't be happy until there is none left on the tree and the tree has been chopped down.......the new red unsustainable variety pretending to be Green and sustainable has been fully exposed !!!
Never mind I get one vote and thank god it will cancel yours out eh !!!!

you wrote: Why would anyone stop a business and then restart it? There is no benefit is doing that!!
As it noted in the article, if you restructured your business so that it was officially a partnership or Limited Liability Company you could pay zero state income tax. There was a benefit in doing that. Those get counted by the state as closing down the old business and a separate entry for starting a business as they are a different company with different tax records.

have your cake and eat it too?
who owns lochinver and where the proceeds would go - will it create more jobs?
I'd imaging they get a good price for it? 

According to NBR today, proceeds from the sale of Lochinver will be applied to expanding Stevenson's quarrying activities and result in the "creation" of 8,000 new jobs

Given Fonterra only employs 16,000 (and that's worldwide), they must be planning on quarrying with pick and shovel.

LoL. Yes, what happened to Waymad's revolution of mcu sensors controlling robotised excavators?

Driverless mining trucks are already in use.  So the joke, may in time, be on you Stephen. ;-)

In what way CO? - my comment reflected the reality you point to and I have just finished building one of these unmanned automomous vehicles.

I must have mis understood what you meant Stephen - I thought you were somewhat disbelieving of waymads revolution of mcu sensors controlling robotised excavators?. Apologies. :-)

It's not just a quarry Kate. 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.

Same article - ‘‘I actually said to somebody today, what is it that they think Pengxin are going to do, get up and take it back to China? They’re investing in the country, they allow us to invest ... and create 8000 jobs in Drury south. It’s good for the country.’’ 
And when Pengxin sells and disappears as the Japanese etc apparently did where will the capital sale proceeds settle  - here?  I doubt it.

What is the difference between a foreign owned company selling up and taking their funds to a foreign country and someone like Aj selling his farm here and taking its proceeds to invest off shore. In the Lochinvar deal the initial proceeds get to stay in NZ and given that Shanghai Pengxin employ Landcorp as sharemilkers on the Crafar farms and presumably will do the same again, then at least 50% of the income generated remains in NZ.

Did AJ do that? He would certainly be smarting with the low 25bps depo rates available at best in the G3 jurisdictions - I doubt he chose poverty in his retirement in the US.
Landcorp is an outrage to common sensibility - it should immediately be broken up and sold to individual NZ owners. Revaluing marginally profitlable assets in much the same manner as the power companies do to claim profitability defies logic.

How true. I would love to see that happen .. best hope for young NZers wanting to get into farming - set them up as 99 year leases (NZ citizens only) and bring back the ballot as a means to distribute the parcels.

So, you are a believer in tenant farmers Kate. ;-)  I know of a few farmers who won ballots back in the early 80's.  By the mid 90's the economics had changed and many were basically subsistence farming due to the size of the farms, and those that couldn't sell for dairy conversion were stuck between a rock and a hard place. Others subdivided bits off before selling to forestry.  Tenant farming on a 99year lease in NZ where we don't have subsidies, is not something I would wish on any young farmer.

I didn't say he has, and as far as I am aware he hasn't yet, but he has posted that he is looking to invest off shore.  He was used as an example as many on here know his situation. :-)
There's two sides to the Landcorp debate.  Having had a son go through their training programme (sheep) I was impressed at the quality of it all.  Landcorp is an incubator for young farmers who may not come from a farming background to be trained.  Also many privately owned sheep farms are not in a position to employ labour - as some have said here. If Landcorp farms were in private ownership you would not get that to the same degree.  Landcorp only owns 40% of the land it farms on and has taken on some interesting projects such as taking on the Far North college farm and using it to train local kids - many of them Maori.  These sorts of projects are unlikely to be undertaken by the private sector.  Having said that their farms are run on a commercial basis and are required to return a dividend to the government.  Having heard Steve Carden speak twice since his appointment, there are interesting times ahead.

I didn't say he has, and as far as I am aware he hasn't yet, but he has posted that he is looking to invest off shore.  He was used as an example as many on here know his situation. :-)
I imagine in the US he could not resist the cheap monetary advances of the US Federal Reserve and when that dries up the Bank of Japan's QE program is in full swing offering cheap investment funds to US based takers of the 'carry trade'.
Re: Landcorp, I imagine Solid Energy equally has a mandate to return a dividend for it's Government owners.

re Solid Energy.  Down our way now that they have sold all the farms they bought to mine lignite (buying at around 2.5times market value), another mining company who has permits have started up test drilling in their permit area.  They had halted it waiting to see how sucessful Soild Energy was.  Perhaps it is a little unfair to mention Solid Energy and LandCorp in the same sentence? ;-)
edit:clarifying they paid around 2.5 times market value not sold at it.

SH: why doubt it (where of a future settlement)
when you have the investment strategy, business case & ownerhip structure document used to raise funds
it would seem that (subject to school boy translation)
there is a BVI new entity put between a HK holding company and NZ holding company, under which the three land investment owing companies sit (Pure 100, NZ Standard Farm [holding Synlait 73.91%] and NZ Pasture Group [Crafar]
funds seem to becoming from a raising by a China domestic entity (part of the group higher up), passed to the BVI entity in return for possibly an asset framework agreement and an equity escrow agreement.

So Henry_Tull - another example of premeditated preparation for a tax dodge from the not so grasping hands of the IRD?
Stuff's Chalkie mentioned a few established non- resident players last year:
Another overseas-owned lines company, Wellington Electricity Distribution, has an even higher proportion of related-party debt than Powerco and in Chalkie's reading of its accounts has paid no company tax at all since its sale by Auckland-based Vector in 2008.
The tax losses came despite healthy profits at ebit level of close to $50m a year.
Wellington Electricity Distribution, incidentally, is owned by Hong Kong-based Cheung Kong Infrastructure through a holding company in the Bahamas.
From last month the thin capitalisation threshold has fallen to 60 per cent.
It will also be interesting to see whether the NDRC gets in the way of future New Zealand transactions. For now, Chalkie reckons anyone who sees no difference between overseas and local buyers needs their head read. Read more

The presence of BVI in the middle of the chain should be enough of a red-flag-alert to frighten the horses
Where is John Key NOT getting his intel from
That is so blatant

I don't think for a minute that he hasn't got the intel. More a case of turning a blind eye in support of the globalisation agenda whilst stupid enough to think the peasants would remain in the dark.

Thankfully, it is increasingly clear JK was recruited by the Washington Consensus types to enforce practical undertakings of its dogma laden policy prescriptions - others may include RBNZ Governor Wheeler post his bout at the World Bank.
None of which bodes well for most NZers save the recipient corporates.

SH, yes so it seems, and other hands (sometimes more grasping)
It is de rigeur to be in the BVI, it seems, as one British tax lawyer says:

Our [Chinese] clients say that you haven't really arrived if you don't have at least one BVI company to your name.

Ten percent of all "foreign" investment into China comes from the BVI, in fact - and growing explosively, as this document (see table 4) shows. Why so? Well, the reporter met quite a lot of obfuscation. The lawyers didn't want to tell her; one Scottish corporate lawyer merely said 'ask the Chinese clients'. But then she extracts this telling quote from U.S. lawyer Steve Dickinson, which says it all:
There seem many corporations listed on HK exchange - while their place of corporate registration is often somewhere in the Caribbean Sea. Here for example is HK listed, mainland China farming Modern Dairy, incorporated in the Cayman Islands with limited liability...
as mentioned previously try collecting an invoice ex the BVI (or funds otherwise thought to be subscribed capital to the local sub)... which seems getting a deal harder soonish..
A proposed law in the British Virgin Islands will boost Hong Kong's role as an offshore centre serving China, but threatens the freedom of journalists to report on companies in the secretive tax haven, say analysts.
The Computer and Cybercrime Act was introduced into the BVI legislature last week, said the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The legislation comes after a series of leaks over the past year by the ICIJ, revealing sensitive information on offshore companies.
According to the act, a person who publishes in any media unauthorised information on BVI companies may be fined up to US$1 million or jailed for up to 20 years. A document of the act seen by the South China Morning Post said it applies to any person of any citizenship within or outside the BVI.
BVI: catchmeifyoucan.

It's a classic case of development spin, CO.
They are not talking about 8,000 permanent NEW jobs in the quarrying industry - instead this will be a finger-in-the-wind estimate of the number of persons who might at one time or another over the course of 15 years be involved in some way in relation to the development of the property. No way are they "creating" 8,000 new permanent, full time employment opportunities in relation to "quarry operations" - the bulk of these numbers will come from construction and roading workers who are already employed within the various building/development/roadworks contracting companies.
Here's another one on the Kapiti Coast going to create 5,000 jobs - so between these two developments are you saying NZ will have another employer the size of Fonterra? Hardly.

No Kate, I'm not that naive.  My point was to show there will be a substantial investment in things other than a quarry. Neither do they say the 8000 jobs are solely in the quarry.

Winston wiil be on his way to 10% plus now...
The Nats are out of touch with their sell everything, let everyone move here policies.  Auckland is jam packed.  Pakeha (who's families' have been here for 150 plus years) are being shut out of their own cities and suburbs.
There is a point where enough is enough, and with the economy otherwise reasonably ok, this could (alongside housing) become the major election issue.

Watch him rise in the preferred PM stakes as well.

Key and National need to understand that papa knows best no longer works. It hasn't worked since another kiwi politician in Qld told us "Don't you worry about that". "Substantial and identifiable benefit"sounds a lot like the billions in benefits we were supposed to get from tax payer dollars spent on Rugby and America Cups.
We need a proper look at what is happening here with independent input. Indeed the whole property market is a shambles with hearsay, innuendo, gut feelings. Lets get some proper facts on the table about foreign ownership in residential, farming and businesses. Key seems happy to maintain the status quo to keep Peking on side and I know we are at risk of upsetting our main markets but for gods sake grow a pair.
By the way smirking isn't leading.

Interesting....comparative to other OECD countries without 3-4% growth rates, single digit unemployment etc, and bearing in mind Labour tried to vote down just about everything that National implemented, Daddy has proven to know best, unless of course Labour policy and blogger advice would have improved upon those numbers..........

I guess what some people are asking is, what are the long-term impacts of the things being pushed through by the current government? It might conveniently suit short-term metrics, but what will it mean for future generations?

Moe, those are always fair questions to ask but again compared to some of the major nations that ran up massive borrowings and printed hundreds of billions or trillions of additional USDs, GBPs, EUR's, RMB, JPY, CHFs etc to starve off the biggest global crisis since the Great Depression, the longer term consequences of what NZ has done are minute. We have to compare 100-150% debt to GDP countries with one that is higher but only at 30% and an about to be surplus, and zero money printing, with the consequences that are now looming over the world in the next few years as a result of what those others had to do. Time will tell but I know who's position I'd prefer to be in, be it that we will feel those consequences of those actions as well at some point in the future.

Smalltown : Lets get some proper facts on the table about foreign ownership in residential, farming and businesses.
Ain't never gonna happen - gotta keep the mushrooms in the dark

Pretty disgusting to see our "leaders" grovelling to Chinese Businessmen. Easy entry no questions asked immigration, interferring in police investigations and all the land they want.
"Very good price and happy ending" Key needs to get in touch how we Kiwis feel about this. The question is, does he even care?

No, its all about dogma and profit.
regards forward 20 yrs.  Unrest continues in NZ as the population suffers from malnutrition and poverty.  Eventually the peasants revolt and ransack the countryside, looting the foreign owned farms for food and assaulting foreign workers.  Police and Army symapathise and don't inetervene.  Foreign owners seek help from their home government who send 'peace makers' to restore order.........the master plan has been fulfilled, takeover complete.
Meanwhile back in Hawaii.....

Bear in mind to an extent we NZers are doing this to ourselves. ie we buy toys like iphones n stuff.
You make some assumptions, ie you are right I think but maybe for the wrong reasons and, the time scale is I think more like 10 years not 20.
"peasants" dont have to revolt as such, as in physical violence (or I hope so). Just vote out the incumbent Govn with the understanding the incoming Govn nationalises and invalidates/prevents foreign ownership.  I think that will occur inside 10 years, a party like NZF will promise it and win by a landslide.  As an example Argentina for instance nationalised its petrolium industry off the (spanish?) that I think is going through the courts.   Nz can and will do the same.

Over the years I have read many comments on this site saying Fonterra is too big and it should be broken up/needs competition etc.  Yilli, Yashili, Bright Dairy, Danone, Vinamilk (via Miraka) are all overseas companies with shares or in most cases, outright ownership of dairy processing plants in New Zealand.  The only 100% NZ owned dairy processors are Fonterra, Westland Milk, Tatua (approx 120 suppliers) and Talleys (Open Country approx 500 suppliers). 
I have also read according to some commentators on this site, of how NZ dairy farmers don't pay their way, they pay no tax, are weatlthy, appear to be the only water polluters in the country etc.  As a dairy farmer in NZ I read it that to many on this site we are in effect leeches on NZ society who contribute very little and take advantage of everything. 
So what you were wanting in the fall and fall of kiwis farmers, is starting to happen.  You should be celebrating, not complaining.  As another commentator said - you can't have your cake and eat it too!

The glitz, glamour, music and dramatic pauses of The X Factor New Zealand will return to local screens next year.
NZ on Air announced today it would provide funding of up to $800,000 for 32 episodes of a new season.
A MediaWorks spokesman said auditions for the new season would take place this year. Read more
Cripes, in this case the NZ taxpayers get to finance the golden eggs from the foreign chicken as well.
What is it with Mediaworks and this Government's Mr Joyce?

Of course I can do that - thanks for the invite ostrich.

Get real CO.
Do you really think that the dairy blip will be around forever. The way we are exporting the technology and training up foreigners by allowing them to become particpants in NZ farming itself the holiday will soon be over. The whole world can see the current profits to be made and are gearing up just like NZ. Its the boom and bust nature of commodities.
And re water polluters if they can't contain their mess now during the good times what type of sh&t hole will NZ become when the bad times roll around and cost cutting becomes even more important. Re the leadership on this read up about Ostrich John's sad interview on the BBC
The only people that take the long view are the Chinese. For Kiwis its all about the moment. Yes the Nationals have guided us through a difficult period but by selling the family silver and grabbing their ankles where neccessary. They remind me of the street angel who comes home to bully their little siblings. Unless all of NZ is included and someone starts taking the long view then it will soon be all over. For me, a lifelong National voter ,the next election is all about immigration and foreign ownership. All  else inc roading, health, house prices, & education) flow from there. I can see National need a wake up call and frankly NZ First look like the only ones that can do it.
Kiwis so dumb lah!

As a farmer for 30+ years smalltown, I am well aware of the ups and down in farming.  The problem became such when NZ Inc became only to happy to 'ride the wave of white gold' and got lazy and took their eye off the ball of reality in needing to diversify our economy and that in order for NZ Inc to do well it needs to get off its backside and work.  Despite the media going in to a frenzy anytime any remotely normal event such as lower payout happens, there are many of us on the land who take it in our stride and get on with it.
With regards the water - water testing in the Waikato shows that some soil types are taking up to 100+ years to leach nutrients, so how much of the issues we face are legacy issues?  That doesn't mean dairy farmers don't have to make changes - they have and will continue to do so.  The reality for NZ Inc is to realise that other sectors have a part to play and in some situations (e.g. Te Waihora, 40years) it may be a generation  before we see any real progress.  Once those with their heads in the sand pull their heads out, and look around they will realise that catchment communities need to work together to create a result and that in some cases it will take time.  Thankgoodness this is quietly happening away from the glare of a myopic media and there are some good works being done.
You are free to vote for who you like - but NZ First does not have enough candidates to become government.  Be careful what you wish for - in the UK I have friends who did the 'protest vote' thing and voted for UKIP - which they are rueing now as UKIP won. :-)
We get the government we deserve.

Casual Observer - maybe it's time to shake the apple tree - couldnt be any worse than what's happened over the past 14 years - and maybe a hung parliament might be a good outcome

What I do know is that regardless of who gets in, I will continue to farm and will adjust however I need to in order to do so.  I'm a second generation kiwi and have being told of how both my immigrant grandfathers (from different parts of the globe) have both being on the negative receiving end of government of the day, ethnic  policy.  Their attitude, while feeling hugely aggreived, especially when one fought as a NZ soldier in France, was 'it won't last forever', so I guess that's my attitude to governments of the day.  

I reckon Winston Peters is a lot more balanced than Fire and Brimstone Nigel Farage - and I think he has been around the dance floor enough times to offer new zealanders a lot better deal than what is being served up now - even if it is only to put a leg rope on the others

You may well be right ;-)

Agree....I may even vote NZF...

Selling large parcels of land to a foreign state is not "No strings attached".  As a foreign power's interests in NZ grow, they would naturally be expected exert (using whatever means are available to them) increasing influence on a NZ government to protect their interests. 
E.g. They may use their dominant economic influence to presure a NZ government against tightening it water quality laws.  

Of course that will be the case, especially when you have large parcels of land and the processing in your control, of course it is going to happen, only a fool would think otherwise

As a foreign power's interests in NZ grow, they would naturally be expected exert (using whatever means are available to them) increasing influence on a NZ government to protect their interests.
What!!!!! -  gun boat diplomacy?

Im sure the USA is no different.
However I think the Green's at last will take exception to that.

Not gun boat diplomacy, polling booth political power.
How soon before we see a party by the name of like  " North Shore Friendly Chinese Party" (with their headquarters next door to Westlake College ) holding the balance of power in coalition with their "special friends" in the National party? You let in enough foreign influence and soon enough they start voting in a bloc that is large enough to influence events. Then its all over - see how well Fiji turned out or look at the situation in Leeds.
Kiwis so dumb lah!

Looks like MMP still doesn't work. 

of course its working, way better than FPP, 20% of ppl are represented, 1.2% not perfect.

One of the best debates/discussions i've read on this forum for some time.
I would like to clarify the meaning of the word "democracy" in New Zealand.
New Zealand is a democracy, meaning New Zealanders have ultimate power over the way they are governed. But it is hard to make use of that power without knowing how the process of government works.
Of course, we get to vote for Parliament once every three years. But there is a lot more to democracy than elections. A democracy should give citizens many opportunities to participate in decision making, and provide:

  • checks and balances so that people with power cannot abuse it
  • respect for the voices of minorities, as well as those of the majority
  • independent and impartial judges who treat everyone equally
  • a free press
  • access to official information
  • protection for individual rights
  • freedom from corruption.

Sadly, I don't believe New Zealanders have 'ultimate power' over the way we are governed.
In fact; I see less and less of the above bullet points reflected in our society today.
The election has become a circus with the likes of United Future and ACT holding so much influence when they account for less than 2% of the party vote.  
The farcical display that is Internet Mana; how can some wealthy non-citizen of NZ be permitted to finance a political party that due to its very nature will attract the uninformed to vote for due to it's so called stance against the current government.
I wish for a change of govt. LGNZF although in reality National will win comfortably, I just hope they win with a 50% majority because I cannot bear to think of the next 3 years with ACT's policies being introduced or the fact Peter Dunne continues to be paid handsomly for changing his bow tie every now and again.