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Greens Launch Petition To Control Foreign Ownershi

10 November, 2004
Greens launch petition to control foreign ownership

The Green Party has launched a public petition, calling on the Government to make it more difficult for foreign investors to buy New Zealand land, buildings and businesses.

"While the Government says it wants to make it harder for New York bankers and Canadian music stars to buy a slice of heaven down under, the truth is, it has no intention of actually stopping such land sales," said Green Party Co-leader, Rod Donald.

The Greens' petition asks Parliament to:

* Oppose the Government's plans to make it even easier for foreign investors to buy-up New Zealand;

* Stop land sales to people who are not permanent residents;

* Ensure that all other foreign investment genuinely benefits New Zealand.

"New Zealanders are paying the price for the foreign buy-up of Aotearoa," said Green Co-leader, Rod Donald. "Kiwi families are paying higher rents, the dream of owning your own home is rapidly turning into a nightmare for even middle-income earners and young farmers can't afford to buy land.

"Labour admits that over the last few years 2,720 hectares of offshore islands, 57 kilometres of coastline and 157,000 hectares of high country leasehold have been sold to overseas buyers. And that's just the tip of the foreign ownership iceberg.

"Most residential and commercial land sales under $10 million are not scrutinised or recorded now. The sell-off is only going to intensify because Labour plans to remove that threshold altogether."

Rod Donald said it was estimated that foreign corporations and individuals already owned more than one million hectares of New Zealand's commercially productive land area.

"And land sales account for only a fraction of what's being hocked-off overseas," said Mr Donald. "Most of our economy is now controlled from the boardrooms of London, Sydney, Singapore, Tokyo and New York."

Rod Donald noted that at the end of June, foreign investment in New Zealand totalled $190 billion, up more than $8 billion on the previous year. New Zealand's net international debt (foreign investment here minus NZ investment overseas) now topped $109 billion.

"Labour says we need more foreign capital. But it comes at a price: precisely $9,488 million in interest payments and profits on those loans and shareholdings last year. The fact that most of it was reinvested here is no consolation. It just means the bill gets bigger, making it even harder to make ends meet."

Mr Donald is also drawing up a private members' bill that would mirror the clauses of the petition.


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