New Zealand Report: Selwyn Manning delivers his New Zealand Report to Australia’s radio FiveAA.com.au. This week: Chinese Move To Buy Prime Farm Block Blocked + Dunedin’s Cannabis Museum Has Guests – Recorded live on 18/09/15.
Foreign Bid Farm: The National led Government has for the first time rejected a major bid by a Chinese company to purchase a large farming block in the Central North Island.
Pure 100 Farm applied in 2014 to the Government’s Overseas Investment Office to buy Lochinver Station near Taupo for $88 million.
The 13,800 hectare farm is considered prime farming real estate.
The Overseas Investment Office initially authorised the purchase, but Associate Minister of Finance Paula Bennett this week rejected the purchase, stating there was no significant benefit to New Zealand should the sale to go ahead.
Pure 100 Farm is a subsidiary of the China-based Shangahai Pengxin company. In February Shangahai Pengxin stated it planned to double its $500 million investment in New Zealand-based farm assets, within the next five years.
The current owners of Lochinver Station are angry. Stevenson Group’s chief executive Mark Franklin told media on Wednesday: “We are concerned that this process has taken 14 months with the end result that we have been deprived of our property rights to sell to the highest value bidder for some vague national benefit which has not been defined.”
There has been much public angst about foreigners buying up significant blocks of New Zealand land. And the Government faced strong condemnation in 2012 when it approved the sale of a network of land (known as the Crafer Farms) to Shangahai Pengxin.
But Bennett rejected suggestions the sale was blocked because the buyers were Chinese.
She told the New Zealand Herald: “I’m not going out there and deciding who buys land on the basis of their surname.”
Bennett added that one of the reasons for declining the sale was the low number of extra jobs it would provide.
A Night You May Not Remember: A night at the (cannabis) museum (ref. Stuff.co.nz includes image plus video)
If you are looking for a holiday you may possibly forget, consider checking in to Whakamana, the Dunedin-based cannabis museum, which is now listing its guestroom on AirBnB.
The museum is promoting its enterprise in a rather laid back manner, describing its accommodation as having an “awesome queen bed with reading lamps, a bit of closet space, plenty of electricity outlets… and a few houseplants.”
Curator Abe Gray told Fairfax’s Stuff website he couldn’t help people ‘score’ but he could take interested people on custom tours, to certain scenic locations … which include the pro-cannabis law reform protests at the University of Otago.