Press Release – Crafar Farms Purchase Group
New Zealanders remain consistently opposed to the sale of the Crafar Farms to overseas buyers despite months of hearing arguments from both sides of the overseas investment discussion.19 March, 2012
New Zealanders Remain Deeply Opposed to Crafar Farm Sale
New Zealanders remain consistently opposed to the sale of the Crafar Farms to overseas buyers despite months of hearing arguments from both sides of the overseas investment discussion.
A new survey from leading pollsters UMR shows 70% of New Zealanders oppose the sale of the Crafar Farms to overseas investors, regardless of the buyers’ nationalities. The poll (with a sample size of 750) was commissioned by the Crafar Farms Purchase Group and was carried out the weekend before the Labour Party unveiled its revamped overseas investment policy on March 11.
Purchase Group spokesman Alan McDonald said the poll reflected the consistent view that New Zealanders oppose the sale of productive farm land to overseas investors of any nationality.
“Almost 90% of those polled were aware of the Crafar Farms sale and 70% of those polled don’t want a sale to any overseas buyer. That number was virtually unchanged when those polled were asked if they opposed selling the farms to a Chinese company,” said Mr McDonald.
“We had a similar response in early October 2011 with significant numbers also suggesting the Government should step in and stop the sale. There have been other scientific and non-scientific polls since then that consistently show a great depth of feeling and opposition to the sale of productive farm land to overseas buyers.
“That would indicate now is the right time to have a cross party conversation about how much productive land we should sell, when is enough, and who should be monitoring and signing off on those sales”
Mr McDonald said overseas land ownership and the long-term aggregation of large parcels of productive land by overseas owners was the key issue for the buying group.
“Our group is aware of investigations by all three major Chinese dairy companies to buy or build processing plants both here and in Australia to secure future long-term milk product supplies for China.
The scenario of Chinese owned farms, supplying Chinese owned factories to sell direct to Chinese consumers from New Zealand or Australia is quite real.
“But there are other ways for overseas investors to secure milk supply without having to buy our New Zealand land, such as long term leasing or contracts for supply with genuine price competition at the farm gate for raw milk.”
The poll questions were:
Are you aware of the proposal to sell 16 agricultural properties, the Crafar Farms, in the Central North Island to an overseas company?
The Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin wants to buy the Crafar Farms; do you support or oppose selling the farms to this Chinese company?
Do you agree, or disagree with this statement: “I don’t care what the nationality of the company is, I don’t want the farm to be sold to a foreign buyer.”