OIO incompetence hurts government; gives Labour another stick to hit it with

Dopey civil servants are the bane of any minister.

The OIO has proved to be dopey in the extreme.

The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has admitted it made blunders in a Taranaki farm purchase to brothers convicted for leaching tanning chemicals into an Argentine river.

The OIO says it failed to tell the Land Information Minister it knew of the pollution incident when it recommended approving the sale of 1320ha Onetai Station, to Rafael and Federico Grozovsky, via their company Ceol & Muir.  

The Grozovskys were convicted in 2012 because a tannery they owned leaked chemicals into a river. The conviction didn’t stop them passing the OIO’s good character test and their company, Ceol & Muir, was given approval to buy the farm in 2013.

“Relevant information was not passed on to government ministers. I have advised Land Information Minister Louise Upston of this situation and apologised,” chief executive Peter Mersi said today.

“I have also given her an assurance there will be no repeat of this situation in future.”

The OIO has a robust process “but on this occasion, it does not appear to have been followed. This was a regrettable lapse”, Mr Mersi says.

They will get a stern ticking off, and that’s about it. Civil servants never get sacked.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.