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National Sells Off Our Biggest Slice Of Dairy Land

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Government says it is tightening up on sales of farmland to foreign owners, but is allowing the biggest ever sale of dairy land to Harvard University, underlining the lack of clear, strong rules on foreign ownership of our land, says Labour Agricultural spokesperson Damien O'Connor.

Damien O'Connor said the Government's review of overseas investment has not even been "a half-hearted effort to protect New Zealand against increasing foreign ownership of land.

"Bill English says the review will allow greater ministerial flexibility, but flexibility gives no certainty that New Zealand interests will come first.

"Labour is committed to providing strong, clear rules and to keeping New Zealand farmland in Kiwi hands so we can own our own future," Damien O'Connor said. "Flexibility is another word for doing nothing as far as National is concerned.

"The National Government, frightened by public reaction to the sale of farmland to Chinese interests, has polled itself to a standstill on this issue. It thinks that the sale of land to Harvard won't be nearly as contentious.

"But the issue has never been about China or any other country of origin," Damien O'Connor said. "It's about having rules that work effectively and that can be clearly understood by everyone.

"This sale is not in New Zealand's long-term interests. This is another case of a bank receiver selling on an overseas market at a price New Zealanders can't afford.

"What's good for the goose (Harvard) is not necessarily always going to be good for the gander (New Zealand's overall interest).

"National's review has simply created more confusion, piling rules on rules without establishing strategic bottom lines.

"National wants to create the impression it is doing something about the problem, but the likely outcome of National's review is that it will become easier to sell our land to foreign owners."

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