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Greens to petition against land sales

20 July 2004

Greens to petition against land sales to foreign investors

The Green Party is to launch a petition opposing all land sales to foreign investors as it mobilises against Government plans to free up rules governing foreign control of New Zealand land and businesses.

Finance Minister Michael Cullen is today expected to announce his Government's intention to abolish the Overseas Investment Commission, remove all scrutiny of business buy-ups by foreign investors and relax rules on land sales.

"The Green Party is totally opposed to any land sales to non-resident foreigners and believe most New Zealanders support us on this issue," said Rod Donald, Green Party Co-Leader and Finance Spokesperson.

"I have drafted a private members bill which would stop all land sales to people who don't choose to make New Zealand their home but simply want to make money out of us or treat us as a rich man's playground. If people from overseas think New Zealand is 'heaven on earth' they should make a real commitment to our country by living here and actively contributing to our society.

"Michael Cullen is simply putting up a smoke screen when he says he is going to protect our iconic sites. Such guarantees around sensitive land are just a façade to conceal the fact that the sale of the rest of our land and buildings to foreigners is accelerating.

"We're also totally opposed to Cullen's plans to end all scrutiny of business buy-ups by multinational corporations. The Overseas Investment Commission may have only been a rubberstamp in recent years, but its needs to be given teeth, not shut down.

"Foreign investment has its place, but there is an enormous contradiction between how human and corporate migrants are treated. The Government rightly denies New Zealand residency to individual criminals, but is prepared to open the doors to companies with overseas convictions. Equally the Government is prepared to deport people who commit crimes here, but doesn't show the door to multinationals that have been found guilty under our OSH laws and the RMA.

"The Greens believe that foreign investors should be welcomed as guests, which means they should expect to live up to a code of corporate responsibility or be asked to leave. New Zealand needs much tighter restrictions on foreign investment, not a 'free for all' policy," said Mr Donald.

ENDS


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