BusinessDesk: "At 1 percent [foreign ownership of farmland], I don’t think we have a substantial issue": PM Key

BusinessDesk: "At 1 percent [foreign ownership of farmland], I don’t think we have a substantial issue": PM Key

Prime Minister John Key hasn’t seen anything to make him question the Overseas Investment Office, which is facing a potential judicial review over its processing of an application by a Chinese investor to buy local farms.

China’s Shanghai Pengxin has until the end of the month to get OIO approval to buy the Crafar family farms before receiver for the farms KordaMentha can turn down its offer, in a process that has attracted intense scrutiny and faces a judicial review from a rival bidder.

The office’s transparency has been questioned by investment banker Michael Fay, who’s part of the rival consortium, but the Prime Minister hasn’t seen anything to question the OIO.

“Any decisions I’ve seen them make I’ve had no reason to question them so far,” Key told reporters at a post-Cabinet press conference.

Cabinet today briefly discussed the OIO’s recommendation on whether Pengxin should be cleared to buy the Crafar family farms, and Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson and Associate Finance Jonathan Coleman will have the final say on whether to approve the deal, Key said.

“If they’re going to meet the 31 January timeline, they’ll need to make their decision soon, and they’ll publicly communicate that,” he said.

The Crafar Farms Purchase Group yesterday filed papers in the High Court in Wellington in an effort to block Pengxin’s bid, and a hearing is understood to be scheduled for tomorrow.

The Fay-led consortium, including Tiroa E and Te Hape B Trusts, Tauhara Hapu Trusts, Aitchison Farms, WD Holmes 2000 Trust, Donovan Group and Brent Cook launched a rival $171.5 million offer in September, believed to be some $30 million below Pengxin’s bid.

The purchase group tapped anti-foreign ownership argument in putting up its rival offer, after the purchase of large blocks of farmland by foreigners was raised by Natural Dairy NZ’s failed offer to buy the Crafar farms in 2010. That prompted the government to impose stricter controls on overseas investment, backing away from an initial stance to ease restrictions.

Key talked down the extent of foreign ownership of local farmland, saying he understood it to be less than 1 percent.

“The wholesale sale of land in New Zealand is not in New Zealand’s best interests, and that was why we sought to toughen up the overseas investment act,” he said. “At around about 1 percent, I don’t think we have a substantial issue.”

(BusinessDesk)

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.

10 Comments

At pay review time 5% of stuff all is stuff all.
1% of NZ farmland is already however a 'substantial' acreage, and the issue will only grow.
Despite John's 'free trade agreement', I don't believe NZers would be allowed to buy such large tracts of land in China. No doubt John's intention is to ensure that present farmers can maximise their proftis by selling out and that young farmers are forever shackled into debt "money" created by foreign banks - again making the rich richer..
Mr Key is at best twisting the facts again and at worst is a lying thieving scumbag.
In four years time we can vote for a new figurehead from either the red or blue party.. Apparently this is 'democracy'..

...Actually it's Helen's 'free trade agreement'.

And the band played on...
 
and before that Piggy Mulddon etc they are all corrupt. I doubt Altruism is in John Key's dictionary, it really doesn't matter what self serving prick is in charge. Just bend over and lube up.

 "I don’t think we have a substantial issue":  John Key
"The head of Local Government New Zealand believes huge pay rises for some of our council chief executives are justified.
Reports of the latest bumper payrise for a council executive has led to calls for the Government to clamp down on excessive public sector salaries.
One politician has described getting a top council job like winning the lottery for some people."
http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/local-govt-head-believes-huge-pay-rises-justified-4702270
John Key and this govt will not do a bloody thing to bring this lottery to an end. Your taxes go to fill this trough that so few wallow in and your rates go to fill the other pig trough the local council bosses wallow in.
The public sector salary blowout pigfest has become a festering cancer inside this govt and most councils.

Ha Ha Ha, Everybody goes bonkers whenever a "foreigner" (ie A Chinese) face appears with a sackfull of cash...."OWR COUNTRY IS BEING INVADED"..."YELLOW MENANCE" etc etc.
Get a life Kiwis !! You are in deep dodo with debt and don't even think you can climb out of it without foreign cash...at least he is buying your stuff..(even if its only land)..better than them calling in the IMF and turn you into Greece to repay your debts !!!
I am amazed how fast Kiwis turn red at the neck everytime a yellow comes around !! 

kin - good to have an "orange view"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpKzTdMSaJs&feature=related
...wow - did you see what happened with the Kiwis with a cheap blender imported from China ?
 

Kiwis don't like the asians because they are different.
THEY STUDY HARD
THEY DON'T PLAY RUGBY
AND THEY DON'T GO AROUND IN GANG WALKING THE STREETS AND INTIMADATING
EVERYBODY.

quote: "AND THEY DON'T GO AROUND IN GANG WALKING THE STREETS AND INTIMADATING EVERYBODY." Not heard of the Triads then?

Agree Asians kids study hard - they have immense pressure put on them to do so.
I have seen some great 7s rugby from Asian teams.
Ask some of the newer Asian immigrants if they are intimidated by their own, at times.
Know a kid who was raised in a city with a high Maori population, went to Chch to study a few years ago. They found Asians more intimidating walking down the street than Maoris in their home city.  Give me Maoris any day, was their comment.  Their view was formed by Asian students walking several abreast down the street and none of them moving over to let you through. Being a young female they found this intimidating, as it was a regular occuring event anytime they went up town
Having lived in Asia for a time, I understand how these 'attitudes' are formed - the mass of people doesn't always leave an opportunity for manners, when queueing, walking down the street etc.
Asian culture is different. For many kiwis it is the differences that they don't like and therefore judge them on.  There's good and bad in every culture. I believe it is the lack of freedoms in Asia that NZers fear will end up here, that forms their attitudes to new Asians and new Asians doing business here.

The triads are mainly a menace to their own people.
NZgangs don't care who they intimidate