Friday, April 20, 2012

Crafar Farms sale approved

It will come as no surprise that Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson and Associate Finance Minister have again approved the sale of the former Crafar farms to Chinese-owned consortium Milk NZ Holding Limited; the Beehive website reports, with links to the OIO decision:

Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson and Associate Finance Minister Jonathan Coleman have approved the new recommendation of the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) to grant consent to Milk New Zealand Holding Limited to acquire the 16 Crafar farms.
“New Zealand has a transparent set of laws and regulations around overseas investment,” Mr Williamson says.
“Those rules recognise the benefits that appropriate overseas investment can bring, while providing a range of safeguards to protect New Zealanders’ interests. They are applied evenly to all applications, regardless of where they are from.
“We have sought to apply the law in accordance with the provisions of the Overseas Investment Act and the guidance of the High Court.
“We have carefully considered the OIO’s new recommendation. The OIO sought advice from Crown Law and independent legal advice from David Goddard QC. The Ministers also sought advice and clarification from Mr Goddard.
“We are satisfied that on even the most conservative approach this application meets the criteria set out in the Act and is consistent with the High Court’s judgment.”
Dr Coleman said the consent came with stringent conditions.
“These 27 conditions have been imposed to ensure Milk New Zealand’s investment delivers substantial and identifiable benefits to New Zealand,” Dr Coleman says.
The conditions require Milk New Zealand to invest $16 million into the farms and to protect and enhance heritage sites.
“The combined effect of the benefits being delivered to New Zealand as a result of this transaction is substantial.”

The earlier decision to approve the sale was overturned by the High Court on application from Sir Michael Fay's group, the unsuccessful tenderer for the farms. Both the Overseas Investment Office and the ministers have reconsidered the application as directed to by the High Court, and have applied the test which Justice Forrest Miller required. 

It was always likely that the end decision would be the same. So we now stand back and await the outpourings from the usual suspects (NZ First and the Green Party), and the recent converts to xenophobia including new Labour leader David Shearer.


Anonymous said...

New Zealand soil in Chinese hands!
Clever managment, National.
You chumps.

Keeping Stock said...

From the LINZ website:

2005 – present

In 2005 the OIC was disestablished and the OIO came into effect, operating out of LINZ. The OIO dealt increasingly with asset and land purchases, and the move to LINZ was seen as complimentary to this changing role.

The new legislation governing the OIO:

encouraged overseas investment in New Zealand, recognising the growth benefits this can bring
ensured that the value of sensitive New Zealand property is recognised and enhanced by overseas investors
ensured appropriate governance arrangements.

The changes to the legislation governing the OIO can be broadly put into two categories - operational and administrative.

LABOUR established the Overseas Investment Office. Williamson and Coleman have followed the law as it stands.

And kindly take your xenophobia elsewhere.

Lee Mann said...

'And kindly take your xenophobia elsewhere.'

Incorrect use of the word xenophobia.
Says more about you than the commenter, and does not address the poor work of the ministers.

Keeping Stock said...

What's poor about the work of the Ministers Lee? They have followed the letter of the law in making this decision, knowing that it would come under intense scrutiny.

And the "xenophobia" remark was in response to Anon's anti-Chinese remark. If the context is wrong, I apologose. But I make no apology for the sentiment.

jabba said...

can't wait to see the deal completed and for the new owners to invest more cash into making the farms an asset to be proud of as opposed to the farce they are now

pdm said...

A sound decision as it was important that the vendors received maximum value in the sale - even if the Receivers will take more than their fair share but that is a different issue.

If I I have one reservation it is the involvement of Landcorp. They are not known for providing best value returns on the assets they manage.

Quintin Hogg said...

It's amazing the number who come along to kick the messenger.
That says alot for this commenter.
Anyway, back to the story, If the OIA and the relevant ministers have taken into account the matters they are required to consider by the Act and reached the decision having regard to those matters and the recent decision of the High Court i have no problem with the decision.

Man Lee said...

Nice to see everyone approving of a Labour initiative re the policy. Wonder why the MO back when it was being passed into law was bilious nasty personal smear tactics on the PM. Right wingers: Pots meet Kettles.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

New Zealand soil in Chinese, Japanese, American, German, Irish, Australian, danish, Dutch, Indonesian,whatever, hands!
Clever management, National.
You chumps.

Rex Widerstrom said...

At the risk of still doing the heavy lifting for Winston a decade on, there are legitimate, non-xenophobic reasons to oppose the sale of productive farmland to offshore interests.

Speaking personally, chief amongst them is the issue of food security. Having them owned by Westpac is bad enough... we'd need to outbid everyone else for the output.

But having them owned by an extension of a foreign power is worse, because that country has every right to divert the output to feed its own people, no matter what others are prepared to pay.

An ABARE report notes: "In absolute terms, the world’s population is expected to grow by 2.2 billion in the next 40 years to 2050, and a significant part of the additional population will be in countries that have difficulties feeding themselves...

Combining expected population growth with income growth means food consumption will increase by 68 percent between 2000 and 2050".

Of that increase, 63 million are projected to be Chinese. The Chinese government is acting with foresight to ensure it has the means to feed its growing numbers of people, as is its duty and as it has every right to do.

The New Zealand government, as is usual no matter who's in power, can see about as far as the next election.

Anonymous said...

Our own people will starve, while food grown here gets sent to China.
Thank you, John Key, you traitor!

homepaddock said...

Those opposing this appear to think borrowing from foreign banks is alright but selling land to foreigners, with very strict conditions, isn't.

If people don't like the law they should agitate to change it, not criticise the ministers for following it. Chris Carter tried to ignore the law with the Whangamata marina, was taken to court and lost.

Keeping Stock said...

Points well made Ele. Messrs Williamson and Coleman had no alternative but to follow the law, whether they agreed with it or not.

And given that this decision will inevitably come under considerable scrutiny, I am sure that they will have done things absolutely by the book.

Anonymous said...

Sickening, stupid sell-outs - National.

Keeping Stock said...

So you'd rather that Ministers had broken the law that they swear to uphold Anon?

Anonymous said...

Key's selling us down the rive, Keeping Stock. Every day another example of the money-changer debasing the temple more and more. The Gambling Den that is Sky City is the perfect setting for Key the Money Man, and frames him as the sleazy grifter he is. The sad thing is, it's our wealth he's gambling away and the profits are going into the pockets of the wealthy. I don't know how you, Keeping Stock, on-line self-declared Christian, can support this un-christ-like behaviour. It's disgraceful.

Tinman said...

Rex Widerstrom said...
At the risk of still doing the heavy lifting for Winston a decade on, there are legitimate, non-xenophobic reasons to oppose the sale of productive farmland to offshore interests.

Rex, ownership, whether of dirt, grass or manufacture matters not as long as elected government has control through legislation.

Unless the Chinese (or any foreign owner) can pick up the land and take it home with him your argument against is invalid.

Michael said...

What makes anyone else think that the land I own (all 700sqm of it in Lower Hutt) is anymore "yours" than the ex-Crafar Farms because I was born in Porirua, not Shenzen?

Rex Widerstrom said...


Unless the Chinese (or any foreign owner) can pick up the land and take it home with him your argument against is invalid

No, but they can dictate to whom the food produced on that land is delivered.

...ownership... matters not as long as elected government has control through legislation.

So in the event of food shortages, the government would legislate to force a Chinese government-owned producer to sell its output to NZ citizens rather than ship it home?Love to see how that works out for you.