One of New Zealand's biggest farms, described as being the size of Christchurch, has been sold to a North American investment group for an undisclosed sum.
The Overseas Investment Office has just given approval for the sale of Mt Pember station in the Lees Valley, about 85km north-west of Christchurch.
It is a massive 27,242 hectare (66,700 acre) property believed to be capable of carrying almost 53,000 stock units.
The farm was owned by John and Bernice Ramsey who have other farming interests in the North Island, and is an amalgamation of seven runs and stations - encompassing Mt Pember, Wharfedale, Kingsdown, De Bourbles, Island Hills, Snowdale and Okuku Hills.
Mt Pember was bought by the North American investment group's New Zealand-registered company Lees Valley Station LLC.
The property will be managed by Grasslands NZ LLC, a ranch and farm management/consulting company and will continue to be operated as a large scale diversified grazing operation, with a focus on dairy support, sheep, and beef.
In addition to the land and buildings, Lees Valley Station LLC has also bought all livestock and plant equipment for an undisclosed sum. Mt Pember has previously carried in the region of 28,323 sheep stock units, 20,413 cattle stock units and 5052 deer stock units.
Broker Ben Turner of Bayleys Canterbury said the sale, officially settled on September 6, included 11 three-bedroom and four-bedroom homes, as well as five shearing sheds, numerous hay barns and storage sheds, several sets of cattle yards and sheep yards, workshops, and other farm support buildings.
"This sale is an excellent result for both the vendor and the purchaser, and underscores the long-term value of New Zealand's primary production sectors," Mr Turner said.
Interestingly, this single farm is also bigger in area than those properties referred to in combination as the Crafar Farms, and regular readers will be only too aware of the outrage that sale caused, especially amongst the Labour and Green parties.
But they have been strangely silent over the sale of Mt Pember Station. Surely that wouldn't be because the sale of the farm was to North Americans, would it?
To his credit, Winston Peters has put out a statement opposing the OIO's decison to approve the sale. For all his faults, Mr Peters is at least consistent in his opposition to land sales to overseas buyers, regardless of race or origin. But the silence of Labour and the Greens is deafening, and leaves them wide open to accusations of xenophobia.
Chalk that one up; the Labour Party and the Greens are even more xenophobic than Winston Peters and New Zealand First. Who'd have ever thunk it?