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‘Fence Off’ New Zealand from Foreign Speculators

Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader

8 July 2014

‘Fence Off’ New Zealand from Foreign Speculators

The suspected illegal sale of Motukawaiti Island, north of Kerikeri, highlights the need to “fence off” New Zealand from foreign speculators, says New Zealand First.

“Sales of such a precious resource should be restricted to those that will benefit New Zealand,” says New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“Reports today about the island being on the market for $30 million, even though the attempted transfer of ownership four years ago has been under investigation since that time by the Overseas Investment Office, shows the Government’s cavalier attitude towards a free for all in land sales to foreigners.

“Why has the OIO not been held to account for its tardiness around the ‘sale’, or its failure to use all its powers to ensure that New Zealand law is complied with?

“The OIO excuse that it is separate from the land transfers unit, even though they are both part of Land Information New Zealand, shows that complaints about the rubber stamp nature of the office are valid.

“The island has one certificate of title which surely means that if the OIO request for information from the original buyers was in any way diligent or efficient the matter should have been determined years ago.

“A first year law office clerk could have resolved this in a matter of a few months. Why would it have taken two people in the OIO 48 months to not get to the truth.

“Frankly, this island ‘sale’ is more compelling evidence that the OIO, as a unit of the Land Information New Zealand, is as bad as its Minister.

“In short, both the OIO and the unit registering changes in land ownership, are hiding behind the incompetence of the other but their collective attitude towards accountability is nothing short of contempt for the public interest.

“Speculation is causing land price inflation, ruining the chance of land ownership for New Zealanders.”

“Recent land sales approvals by the OIO list land purchases from people who intend to become resident, who intend to migrate to NZ and who intend to start a bed and breakfast. None of these benefit New Zealand.

“In the case of this island’s ‘sales’ shambles we have further evidence of the government kowtowing to foreign interests, regardless of the merit.

“The reported sale price four years ago and the intended sale price of $30m today shows what rampant speculation and dubious covert behaviour they have been up to.

“New Zealand First’s Land Transfer (Foreign Ownership of Land Register) Amendment Bill is awaiting introduction into Parliament and will ensure there is an accurate picture of the takeover of New Zealand,” says Mr Peters.

ENDS

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