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Protection For Farm Land A Political Trade-Off

Protection For Farm Land A Political Trade-Off - Greens

Green co-leader Rod Donald said today he was pleased the Government had finally given effect to 1998 legislation designed to prevent key parcels of farm land being sold to foreigners.

However Mr Donald questioned the commitment of the Government to the intention of the legislation, saying that it dilly-dallied for two years before bringing in the regulations.

"We are only seeing action now because the Government needs New Zealand First's support to get urgency this week for the MP gagging bill. This is a pure political trade-off."

Mr Donald said if the Government was really serious about stopping the wholesale sell-off of New Zealand to foreign corporations, it would:

* Bring down the investment threshold that triggers scrutiny by the Overseas Investment Commission (OIC) from $50 million to $10 million.

* Require the OIC to consider the impact on social well being, environmental sustainability and economic sovereignty when assessing whether an investment will benefit New Zealand.

* Introduce and monitoring a code of corporate responsibility for foreign investors

* Expand the "national interest" test to include the environmental impact of an investment, the impact on the social fabric of the local community and compatibility with Treaty obligations.

Mr Donald said most of these Green recommendations had been supported by the Government members of the Finance and Expenditure Committee during their review of the OIC in April.

"While the Government puts off taking action on these recommendations, massive land purchases continue to tear apart the social fabric of small communities around the country with disastrous consequences."


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