Good Policies Eventually Win Through
The New Zealand First leader, Winston Peters, has welcomed the belated passing, by Order in Council, of restrictions on foreign ownership of New Zealand’s farmlands.
“The 1996 coalition agreement included, at New Zealand First’s insistence, a number of initiatives aimed at maintaining New Zealand control of our major assets. Legislation was duly passed in 1998 before then PM Shipley usurped power and took National on its lemming-like leap over the electoral cliffs. Following the demise of the coalition, and with the Government’s conscience gone, the regulations were not brought into force,” Mr Peters said.
“The recent case of land being purchased by an American investor in the Hawkes Bay area gave an impetus to the urgency of this issue. In this particular instance, New Zealand purchasers were available but their interests were discarded in favour of overseas interests. This is unfair to New Zealanders and such a practice could lead to the alienation of our entire country.
“The high country station Lillybank was divested from that well known New Zealand patriot Tommy Suharto for the princely sum of $1, a price any New Zealander could have paid. The purpose being of course to avoid Indonesian government tracing of Tommy Suharto’s assets.
“This is another matter that we have raised with the present Government and we are pleased that these regulations have now been given effect. The key is that farmland must be first offered for sale to New Zealanders, and that any waiver of this requirement must be demonstrably in the national interest. The madness of selling off New Zealand to foreign interests has been painfully reinforced over recent months, we welcome this belated move,” Mr. Peters said.