The Crafar farms situation

I’ve so far managed to avoid posting about the Crafar farms buy-out. It’s a messy situation for sure. I’m still trying to string my thoughts on it together, but a few things stand out.

  • The Chinese firm that has bought the farms, Oravida NZ, donated $55,000 to the National Party.
  • David Farrar has fudged the numbers to make it look like Labour sold lots of productive land, and the poor innocent National Party have done no such thing. It’s a very liberal use of statistics, and I’ll be going into it further.
  • We need to strike a balance between overseas investment, which we need given our feeble domestic capital market, and the ability to keep strategic assets in New Zealand hands. Then of course you would have to build a case for dairy farms being a strategic asset.
  • As far as I can tell, the calls of xenophobia on the issue (“the opposition is only because they’re Chinese”) are non-existent. As we’ve seen in recent years, there is a strong opposition to the sale of New Zealand assets to international buyers, regardless of their nationality (remember the objections to the Canadian Pension scheme buying Auckland Airport?)

There are rumours floating around there have been all sorts of dodgy deals going on. I guess we’ll soon find out what’s been happening…

1 thought on “The Crafar farms situation”

  1. Well, for a start, Oravida is not the company that has bought the farms. They were formerly related, but as you can see it was bought from Terry Lee, the man associated with Pengxin, and a director of Milk New Zealand. I’m not saying they are unrelated – but the company who bought Crafar Farms is not the one who made over $50,000 of donations. At any

    Nextly, though I agree Farrar’s wee chart was less than full disclosure, it did show that this particular set of farms is not something that’s unprecendented or warrants particular concern with regard to foreign investment, nor that Labour has any real grounds to kick up a fuss over, when they were quite happy to sell this volume, though not in this sized packet, during their last government. I don’t have the data on hand, but I wouldn’t be surprised if National has approved the sale of more.

    I think the opposition is not only because they are Chinese, but because of the high-profile nature of this case. The media has not bothered kicking up a fuss about the sales of reasonably large amounts of land to, for instance, British and German investment companies – and the information is fully available to anyone who looks.

    If you saw John Campbell’s story on the Crafar farms last week, you’d have seen that part of it was definitely designed to scare people about china. It was a red flag with a 12-figure number superimposed, their foreign exchange reserve, this is definitely imagery designed to frighten – about the Chinese (while the poor Iwi couldn’t afford to buy back the land that was stolen from them – don’t tell me there was no racial element in that story).

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