Overseas Investment Office

Hipkins says no to money for schools

The Overseas Investment Office has approved an application from an overseas investor to buy 19 hectares of prime New Zealand land outside Arrowtown for $2.7 million and a donation of $100,000 towards iPads for the Decile 10 Wakatipu High School.

Needless to say the Labour Party is hopping mad.

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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.   Read more »

Cunliffe’s Panama smear fails to stick as OIO declares “no laws were broken”

Yesterday David Cunliffe tried to smear a property owner; today his smear is in tatters.

The Overseas Investment Office says it is satisfied with the decision to allow a foreign company linked to the Panama Papers scandal to buy New Zealand farmland.

The Government agency, which vets all large or sensitive foreign investments in New Zealand, said it had no evidence that Panama-based company Ceol & Muir had breached any laws through its connection to Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca.

“The Overseas Investment Office [OIO] is satisfied that due process was followed in assessing a consent application by Ceol & Muir,” the agency said this afternoon.

Millions of documents leaked from Mossack Fonseca earlier this month showed that the law firm played a key role in helping the world’s wealthy hide their money and assets in foreign trusts, some of which was linked to criminal activity.   Read more »

Chinks no good, but Seppos OK

The opposition have mounted their race based attacks on farm and other real estate ownership, decrying people with Chinky sounding names from even bidding on the real estate offered.

But it turns out that Seppos are the largest foreign owners and we haven’t heard a squeak about them owning farms.

United States interests were the biggest foreign investors in New Zealand dairy land in 2013 and 2014, followed by China, according to a report by KPMG.

The consultancy’s analysis of foreign direct investment decisions by the Overseas Investment Office showed the US accounted for 54.4 per cent of the freehold hectares sold over the two-year period, followed by China with 11.7 per cent and Sweden with 5.9 per cent.

By value, the breakdown was 26.5 per cent for the US, 21.3 per cent for China and 10.8 per cent for Britain.    Read more »

Thanks Paula and Louise, you’ve scared off investors, well done

Shanghai Pengxin has decided to can another farm purchase because of the inane decision of Paula Bennett and Louise Upston.

Another person’s private property rights and value has been eroded due to their idiocy.

A Chinese company has withdrawn from an agreement to buy 10 farms in Northland for about $42.7 million, citing delays and uncertainty from the government’s Overseas Investment Office.

Dakang New Zealand Farm Group, which is 55% owned by Shanghai Pengxin, this morning confirmed the deal was off.

The company had signed a sale and purchase agreement to buy seven dairy farms and three support farms in the Mangakahia Valley district just south of Kaikohe from Mervyn and Cara Pinny.

Dakang  [SZ:002505] chief executive Gary Romano says the decision to cancel was partly based on the government’s decision to veto Pengxin’s purchase of Lochinver Station last month.

“We lodged an application with the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) in April 2015 believing five months would be sufficient time to enable a rigorous and objective review of our plans for the farms, compared to the 70 working day guideline the OIO has for turning around applications,” Mr Romano says.    Read more »

As predicted the Chinese aren’t happy over the Lochinver decision

I said at the time of the Lochinver decision that it would be challenged, and it would reverberate in China as Louise Upston and Paula Bennett made a political decision against the advice of the Overseas Investment Office.

And so it has come to pass.

A Chinese company headed by billlionaire Jiang Zhaobai is actively considering a judicial review of the decision to veto an $88 million application to buy Lochinver station.

Cabinet ministers Paula Bennett and Louise Upston declined the application by a Shanghai Pengxin subsidiary because they did not consider the benefits to New Zealand resulting from the investment to be “substantial and identifiable”.

Lawyers Chapman Tripp are expected to issue a legal opinion to the Chinese firm tomorrow. If the High Court action goes ahead it is expected to test the argument applied in assessing Pengxin’s application.   Read more »

Chinese like New Zealand’s consistent approach, and can’t understand the Lochinver brainfart either

The Lochinver decision was a disgrace, it definitely sent mixed messages over foreign investment.

China’s foreign affairs committee chair Fu Ying says as much.

A Chinese diplomat is warning New Zealand could risk sending the wrong message about Chinese investment in this country.

China’s foreign affairs committee chair Fu Ying is visiting New Zealand and was asked about the government’s decision to block the sale of Lochinver Station to Chinese investors, and Labour raising concerns about Chinese investment in Auckland’s housing market.

Ms Ying told TV3’s The Nation that she wouldn’t comment on New Zealand domestic politics, but she said there was no reason why Chinese investors could not be successful here.    Read more »

Steve Joyce in damage control

Steve Joyce is about to bugger off to China, and was on Q+A doing quite a bit of explaining about why a ministerial ban on the sale of Lochinver Station isn’t really a problem.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce told TV One’s Q+A programme that his Government wants more foreign investment in New Zealand companies – and he thinks New Zealanders will be in favour of it.

“We have a programme where we’re seeking to attract investment, not just international investment but domestic investment as well into our productive companies and the food industry and ICT and high-tech manufacturing. That will continue to go on, and the more investment these companies attract, then the more ability they have to get out there and compete and win on the world stage.”

” New Zealanders ultimately want to see jobs and incomes for them and their families and their kids in New Zealand. And there’ll be lots of growth in the world over the next 20 or 30 years, and the only question is where it is. It’s sort of like a geographic play. We can have more investment in this country or some of that investment could instead be in Australia or in Singapore or in Jakarta or wherever. So if we welcome that investment, if we attract it, we bring it here, that means more jobs, higher incomes, capital invested in our companies. And I think as long as New Zealanders see that and understand that and can see that it works for New Zealand, they’ll be in favour of it because ultimately what they’re really looking for is for the chance for their kids to be successful and grow up and bring up their own families in this country. And we’re seeing that with the shift in migration back to New Zealand that people see that future.”

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Unintended consequences strike again, stupid government decision costs $2.3 billion in economic benefits

Brilliant.  So to pander to the left, National cans the sale of Lochinver, but now it’s put a huge housing project under a dark cloud.   Well done.

The development of a massive industrial park and a special housing area in south Auckland are under threat after the Government blocked the sale of Lochinver Station to Chinese buyers.

Stevenson Group was due to start building in Drury next year, but now it has a funding problem.

“This is 360 hectares of land that’s going to be one of the biggest commercial developments in New Zealand’s history,” says Franklin councillor Bill Cashmore.

But the $300 million Drury South project is under threat after the Government blocked the $88 million sale of Lochinver Station.

Lochinver’s owner Stevenson’s had earmarked the cash for Drury South.

Today, concerned councillors met with the company’s boss.

“I’m hoping that they’ll find a way forward for this particular project. It’s absolutely fundamental for the southern area now,” says councillor Calum Penrose.

Stevenson Group chief executive Mark Franklin didn’t want to appear on camera today but he told 3 News the company is still very committed to the project.

They hope to start the first stages of development next year, but of course still need to find a way to bridge the funding gap.

The project is expected to add just under 7000 direct jobs to the area and almost 20,000 across the region.

It’s also set to boost Auckland’s economy by $2.3 billion.

It brings major infrastructure to the area, infrastructure that put a recently announced 1000 home special housing area on the fast track.

“We’re not just bringing new houses on stream but we are ensuring the infrastructure and the services are there for these to be wonderful communities in the future,” Housing Minister Nick Smith said in July.

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Those who are named a bit Chinky are feeling a bit stinky

The OIO said there were no impediments to Chinese ownership according to the rules, but National have decided to not hand the Media Party and Labour another stick to beat them with.

It may appear good strategy, but it is yet another example that National is operating with less principles and are now a mad poll driven bunch of fruitcakes.

After a 14-month wait for Government approval, the $88 million sale of Lochinver Station to Chinese buyers has been blocked.

“We will not be approving that application,” Associate Finance Minister Paula Bennett said today.

Government ministers overruling the Overseas Investment Office refused to sign off, instead stamping “consent declined” on the deal.

Lochinver is a massive 13,800 hectares, but the sale to Shanghai Pengxin may have provided just three new jobs and Ms Bennett said that didn’t pass the test.

“[It’s] 35 times bigger than your average farm, and to turn around and think – potentially one job and a couple of contractors, is that an identifiable and substantial benefit to New Zealand?”

The decision is a big call against powerful China but Ms Bennett isn’t worried.

“I’ve got no idea how the Chinese government will feel,” she said.

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