Govt must keep Lochinver Kiwi

The National Government must not allow one of New Zealand’s largest, most productive farms – Lochinver Station – to fall into foreign ownership, the Green Party said today.

Offshore company Shanghai Pengxin has confirmed that it is aiming to buy the $70+ million Lochinver Station in the central North Island, which would be the second-largest foreign purchase of New Zealand land. The sale is currently awaiting approval from Government ministers. Shanghai Pengxin previously bought the 7,900 hectare Crafar farms.

“National needs to smarten up and stop New Zealand’s most productive farmland slipping into foreign ownership,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“Over the last five years alone, we’ve lost five percent of our best productive land to foreign buyers. That’s an area the size of the Auckland Super City.

“Lochinver Station will add another 13,800 hectares to that – an area larger than Napier.

“John Key needs to tell us which statement of his is true about the foreign buy-up of our most productive farmland: I don’t want New Zealanders to become tenants in their own country? Or, I don’t think it’s alarming?”

The Green Party will ensure that New Zealand land remains in New Zealand ownership. A simple law change could rule out overseas ownership of farmland over five hectares.

“The Government can restrict farm sales to New Zealanders and New Zealand permanent residents only,” said Mr Shaw.

“This simple measure would make it easier for New Zealand families to buy a farm, and will also help keep more farm profits here in New Zealand.

“It is not in New Zealand's long-term strategic economic interests to lose control of the dairy value-chain to foreigners.

“When it comes to our productive farmland, we must keep it Kiwi.”