Government-owned Landcorp’s decision to sell a further 10 farms, totalling 11,650 hectares, is a short-sighted decision that could see valuable farmland go into offshore hands, the Green Party said today.
“We need local farms to remain in local hands,” said Green Party land information spokesperson Eugenie Sage.
“Fertile land is one of the building blocks of our economy and the basis of a productive primary sector. New Zealanders will miss out on the benefits of owning our production base if these farms go into offshore ownership.
“Except for Lochinvar, the Overseas Investment Office is little more than a rubber stamp for applications by overseas persons to buy farmland.
“Rather than try to sell the farms, they should be kept in Crown hands so the land can be considered for Treaty settlements.
“These sales are a response to uncontrolled and unsustainable dairy expansion under Landcorp’s former management regime. Landcorp has become over-exposed through the drop in dairy prices and needs to flog off our farms to remain viable.
“The Green Party supports stronger controls on foreign investment in New Zealand to minimise the negative effects of speculative and other non-productive foreign investment. We would reserve land ownership for New Zealand citizens and residents,” said Ms Sage.