Laws allowing overseas ownership of key New Zealand companies such as Silver Fern Farms need to be tightened to protect our economy and all New Zealanders, the Green Party said today.
The comments come on the back of news that Silver Fern Farms, part-owned by Shanghai Maling, is to close a meatworks in Ashburton, costing 370 jobs.
“Laying off nearly 400 people is a disaster for Ashburton. Shanghai Maling’s part-ownership of Silver Fern Farms was meant to bring substantial benefits to our country, but axing jobs is the opposite,” said Ms Sage.
“The Overseas Investment Office agreed to the sale on the basis that it met the legal tests and it would be good for New Zealand, which this news clearly shows it’s not.
“It’s difficult to see how much consideration offshore shareholders would give to the welfare of a workers in a New Zealand town like Ashburton when making decisions about their business. Keeping our primary sector businesses in New Zealand hands helps ensure local communities are respected and considered.
“Decisions about the future of work and the primary industry sector in New Zealand should be made by New Zealanders, not international companies.
“We need to protect the things that generate income for New Zealanders, like our productive base. And we need revenue generated to circulate locally rather than having profits and dividends leak offshore,” said Ms Sage.