New Zealand Crafar Dairy Farms Sold To Chinese Investors

Economic Suicide: John Key is mad. He COULD have stopped the sale of these sixteen farms to overseas investors in this, the last week of January 2012. As he said in an interview two nights ago, to reassure us, the government has the power to change the law at any time, so if the plan does not work out, then the law could be changed to prevent more sales to overseas people. He was possibly hinting at the idea that the government could reverse the sale of NZ farm land to Chinese interests, by changing the law if these Chinese investors did not please the government. But that is ridiculous – if he is scared of the Chinese government now, as he seems to be, then he won’t be daring enough to reverse this decision at a later date. He could have had the law changed in time, to halt the sales of any more land to foreigners, to avoid trouble down the track.

DSCO 1792Save Our Forests. Save Our Assets. Photo taken by Merrilyn on Holly’s camera – Dunedin Botanical Gardens December, 2012.

Political Suicide: This trouble is sure to come, as Winston Peters has warned. The Chinese government is not an easy government to deal with, and their representatives are not afraid to ‘cross the line’, as Russell Norman discovered, when he was accosted in his own country by Chinese security people for holding a banner which said ‘Free Tibet’, outside New Zealand parliament buildings, about a year ago. These Chinese officials had no right to be reprimanding someone in our country anyway, let alone someone who was acting in a perfectly legal and acceptable manner, according to our rules. They did not like Russell’s ‘Free Tibet’ placard, and so they took it away from him forcibly.

As if we don’t have enough problems here already, with trying to compensate the Maori people for confiscated land. As has been said on telly earlier in the week: This new sale of thousands of acres of land to Chinese investors, for the paltry sum of 200 odd million, is a modern day ‘beads and blanket’ transaction. You simply cannot put a price on this land. Once it has gone, then it is almost impossible to get it back, as the Maori people have discovered.

A recent poll showed that New Zealanders were in favour of keeping our farms in New Zealand ownership. 97% of people voted for keeping the Crafer farms in New Zealand hands, rather than selling them to overseas interests. This poll was run by the Campbell Live show a few nights ago, the day before the government announced they had approved the sale to the Chinese.

Only 3% of voters voted for the sale being approved to overseas interests. But the national government has acted without consulting the New Zealand people, yet again, and in their usual cavalier style, have gone and done just what THEY wanted to do, regardless of public sentiment. These national party politicians are no better than dictators these days. Where, oh where, has democracy gone? – That slogan, ‘governing by the people – for the people’, is completely lost on these national party blokes. I doubt that John Key has ever heard of it.

John Key has indicated that foreign investment here is a good thing. Even if he is not scared of the Chinese, he thinks that overseas ownership of just about anything is going to profit New Zealand. He is on the wrong track. One just needs to look at Nigeria. The people of Nigeria are among the poorest people of the world, yet Nigeria is the biggest exporter of crude oil of any country in the world. Has foreign ownership of Nigeria’s valuable resources resulted in more jobs, or the wealth being shared about? No. It simply means that the big corporations are getting even richer at the expense of the Nigerian people. Nigeria produces more oil than anyone, yet the price of petrol in Nigeria is the most expensive in the world.

John Key has gone ahead with the sale to overseas investors of 16 prime dairy farms, despite there being a very good bid to buy the farms by a group of New Zealanders, backed by Sir Michael Fay.

This is a very, very sad week for New Zealanders. As Pita Sharples has said, the land is part of us. It is our livlihood, what our very existence depends upon in terms of providing us with food, plus jobs, plus profit kept in New Zealand. He said that we all feel as if a part of us has been sold off, with the news that these prime dairy assets are now the property of the Chinese government.

Nobody can buy land in China. But we let them come here to buy ours. Now the profits of these farms will be fed back into the Chinese economy. If the farms had stayed in New Zealand ownership, then the profits could have stayed in our country, to circulate for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

The main objection is NOT that the new owners are Chinese, although we do not like their government, but the sale of assets to foreigners. The over-riding principle should be that ALL New Zealand farms and assets should be owned by New Zealanders, for the benefit of New Zealanders.


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