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New Zealand needs tougher standards for foreign investors to buy productive land after the final appeal to keep the Crafar Farms under New Zealand ownership failed, says Labour Leader David Shearer.
“New Zealanders want to keep land like the Crafar Farms in Kiwi hands. We all know our rural land is a productive, strategic asset.
“This is just another example of National kowtowing to foreign investors and neglecting the needs of our rural heartland. Labour will foster an active partnership with the regions to create jobs and growth. National’s only idea is to sell off the land and make local people tenants in their communities.
“Farming is the soul of our heartland but National is happy to see farms priced out of locals’ reach and the profits flow offshore. We have the best farmers in the world and we don’t want them priced out of the market by massive international companies.
“Overseas investment needs to demonstrate it will bring in new ideas, create new jobs and significantly improve the local economy. We’re not against overseas investment but Shanghai Pengxin won’t bring anything new to the table.”
David Shearer’s Overseas Investment (Owning our Own Rural Land) Amendment Bill will prevent foreign investors from buying rural land unless they can prove it will bring substantial benefits to New Zealand that would otherwise not occur.
“I have a bill drafted that would substantially limit the discretion of the Minister to consent to the sale of rural land to overseas buyers.
“It would require the Minister to be satisfied that the overseas investment would result in the creation of a substantial number of additional jobs in New Zealand or a substantial increase in exports from new technology or products associated with the purchase.”