Better rules needed to keep NZ land in Kiwi hands

The Green Party agrees that blocking the sale of Lochinver Station to Shanghai Pengxin was the correct thing to do, but says tighter rules around the sale of land are still required to stop land falling into overseas hands.

“We want the law changed to rule out the sale of farmland over five hectares to offshore interests. This would give more certainty to vendors and the public about who owns land in this country,” said Green Party primary industries spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“It would also take some of the pressure off rural land prices, making it easier for New Zealand families to buy a farm, and help our current account deficit, as more profits would stay in New Zealand,"

“The Overseas Investment Office should also distinguish between new investment in sustainable enterprises and the simple purchase of existing businesses and resources with a view to exporting profits, when it makes decisions about the sale of land to foreign interests.

“Our weak laws around foreign ownership of land means we risk losing highly productive farms to foreign owners.

“This week we have already seen 50 percent of Silver Fern Farms potentially being sold off to Shanghai Maling, and so New Zealanders will lose control of the value chain and the profits from our hard working farm businesses.

“When it comes to our productive farmland, and our value chain, we must keep it Kiwi so that profits stay here rather than flowing offshore,” said Ms Sage.

"The Overseas Investment Office’s decision is also good for our rivers.  Shanghai Pengxin's previous purchases of New Zealand farmland have been concentrated on dairy farms.

“If it had been allowed to buy Lochinver, it is highly likely that Shanghai Pengxin would have sought to maximise Lochinver Station's dairying capabilities with major impacts on the health of local rivers including the Mohaka and Rangataiki.”