So suddenly we’re all against selling off farms to foreigners.
Well, it’s not really just foreigners, is it. Let’s be honest – we’re worried about the Chinese buying our farms. They’re not like us. There you go, I said it. Clearly many are thinking it.
Cue Opposition politicians lining up to scratch our collective itch. Nationalism? Racism? Xenophobia? All of the above?
The reality is we’ve been hocking off our farms to overseas buyers for years and no-one seemed too fussed. Australians, Germans, Russians, the Swiss and the Americans – no worries.
But the Chinese are interested now. They have money. They stand out. They want good land to produce protein. And we’ve got huge chunks of lands for sale.
The argument against selling to foreigners lacks all logic and is driven purely by emotion and fear. These are powerful emotions, and Prime Minister John Key finds himself in unusual surroundings, on the wrong side of public debate.
Key prides himself on being on the right side of the popular argument. But on this issue he’s isolated and cornered.
It is pure politicking on behalf of Labour, Winston Peters and Colin Craig. The land isn;t going anywhere, and it only seems to be Chinese buyers that these shameless politicians attack.
There has been economic consensus for decades between National and Labour that foreign investment is generally good. It brings in money and jobs that normally wouldn’t be here.
That agreement has convinced foreigners and their companies to continue to invest in and own larger slices of New Zealand.
According to the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa, foreign direct investment or ownership of companies in New Zealand has increased from $9.7 billion in 1989 to $101.4b last year. That’s about 48 per cent of our entire economy.
Foreigners own us, they pay us and they provide jobs in our country. We’re mostly grateful and don’t really say much.