Draped in the flag of sanctimony

Michael Fay is playing up the patriotism angle large. Draping himself in the flag all the while playing on the fear of the evil Chinee in order to the secure a cheaper bid. We never heard a peep from Fay when his German neighbours were buying high country farms in the South Island

Remember though that despite all his patriotism this man has decided he’d rather be a tax exile from New Zealand and live in Switzerland. You have to wonder of the flag he is draping himself in is in fact the Swiss flag, his chosen country of residence.

Like the Labour party we never heard a peep from Fay when his German neighbours were buying high country farms in the South Island, not a squeak either for English buyers, nor for French.

Michael Fay like any good businessman, and Gareth Morgan, only ever acts in his own interests. Make no mistake he voted with his dollars when it came to loyalty for New Zealand and moved himself and them offshore. He is in it for the money not for some altruistic flag waving claptrap. He managed to scare up some tame Maori to apply a brown wash to the deal.

It is strange to watch Labour cuddle up to Michael Fay’s arguments when Shane Jones called for Fay to have the knighthood Labour gave him stripped. It is even more strange watching Winston Peters cuddle Fay’s argument, perhaps they have been swapping wine boxes lately?

It is all very machiavellian, and you have to wonder which devious back-room operator is running his nationalistic spin so effectively. In the end Michael Fay’s history just makes him look like a hypocritical, sanctimonious, greedy old grump.

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  • Gazzaw

    Doesn’t look much like a Kiwi to me. It’s not only ships that fly a flag of convenience.

    Looks as though he should be at the APEC conference on siklly shirt day. What’s with the Japanese bimbettes?

  • Guest

    A couple of corrections (though not criticisms!)

    – Fay is not a tax exile. Fay left New Zealand because he was one of New Zealand’s most hated men after the rape of Tranzrail and the insider trading that was alleged to have gone on. (think Midavia). Richwhite also skedaddled out of the country too, after Fay Richwhite paid out millions to the govt with no faults attributed.

    – Fay is a genuine nationalist, and he is a flag waver/patriot. I don’t doubt he genuinely is concerned about NZ not being able to buy its own farms. However, he only gets off his chuff to do things about it when Nationalism and profit interests are “aligned’.

  • Winny

    Like his Wig

  • James

    I don’t think he is domiciled in Switzerland anymore.  Isn’t he back in NZ somewhere?

    • Cactus Kate

      Can spend up to half the year in NZ as he had non resident status. No reports that he’s given it up, still if he bought farms would be taxed in NZ on their income as not only can you not take land overseas, you cannot get around paying taxes on it as the source is in NZ

  • I always thought that National thought he was some sort of wunderkind or at least a capitalist poster boy has he been cut loose?

    • Gazzaw

      Don’t think so Neil. The Nats have never liked Fay. I recall that his earlier raping and pillaging of national assets happpened under labour. 

  • whalewatcher

    Fay and Richwhite were corporate robbers who stole the fruits of my grandparents’ generation’s hard-earned taxes building up NZ infrastructure. Their behaviour in the 80s and 90s brands them forever as greedy, self-interested absolute traitors, not patriots.
    Their time will come.

  • One important point: there is a big difference between Europeans buying farms and the Chinese. I’m surprised no one has mentioned this – and WO – you should know better. 

    The large scale farm purchases by the Germans (and some other Europeans) have most often been via institutional investment funds (whose investors in turn have been UHNWIs and the likes of pension and life funds). These funds are closed-ended, which in this case, means they have a finite life (and thus need to be fully divested after a prior agreed number of years). This is a key point: yes, foreigners are buying the farms, but they are legally bound to sell them after a number of years, so it’s hard to view their purchases as menacing foreign ‘strategic’ buyers. 

    Moreover, these foreigners have very often pumped significant capital expenditure into the farms (which their former owners and possibly even some locals either couldn’t afford to or wouldn’t spend the cash on), often employ more workers (and invest in their training), and offer rewarding equity/ profit sharing schemes with local management. Also importantly, the produce of these farms is sold through the same routes any local would (e.g. beef to Affco, milk to Fonterra). 

    The Chinese on the other hand are very likely to have at least a partial strategic and/ or long-term political agenda somewhere in their rationale for buying the farms. And they have suggested in the past that the farm produce would be shipped to China after processing, rather than being sold on locally. 

    So there are very strong reasons why the European farm purchases were not criticised/ blocked and the Chinese ones were. The country is right to be weary of the Chinese. 

    Even though the average NZer does not think so, NZ is a pretty insular place. Parochial, silly views abound. Most foreign direct investment should be welcomed and championed – it is in NZ’s long-term interests. Some should be rejected, but only some. 


    On another note, I don’t have a lot of time for Fay, but he’s done a lot for the country through things such as the Americas Cup back in the day. He’s also used his superior business nous to get assets of the ridiculously stupid government of the day at a great price. I admire his pluckiness. If anyone should be blamed – it’s the silly polies that sold it to him at such a price (and the idiot voters that voted in the government). The second commenter above had it spot on – Fay is a nationalist, but often only pipes up and gets amongst it when doing so is aligned with his interests.