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Environmental impact of Lochinver sale must be considered

Environmental impact of Lochinver sale must be considered

National’s support for selling off New Zealand farmland to overseas investors will result in more and more environmental degradation from dairy intensification, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.

Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin has confirmed that it is aiming to buy a $70 million farm, Lochinver Station, in the central North Island, which would be the second-largest foreign purchase of New Zealand land. The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) is currently reviewing the Lochinver Station deal, which would need the approval of two Government ministers before going ahead.


“The Overseas Investment Office must consider the environmental impacts of the sale of Lochinver station,” Dr Norman said.

“Lochinver station is situated on the upper reaches of the Ripia that flows into the Mohaka River and is also situated on the source of the Rangateiki River.

“Lochinver station is at present a mixed farm involving beef, sheep and dairy.

“Any intensification of dairy farming at Lochinver risks polluting both these rivers.

“Shanghai Pengxin’s previous purchases, of farmland in New Zealand have been concentrated on dairy farms.

“Given Shanghai Pengxin’s previous purchases it is highly likely that they will seek to maximise Lochinver station’s dairying capabilities.

“Under this, and any future National Government, more and more farmland will be sold into foreign ownership and converted to dairy.

“A future Government involving the Green Party would look to progress legislation, already drafted, that would restrict foreign investors from purchasing New Zealand farmland,” Dr Norman said.

Dr Norman introduced a Member's Bill in 2010 which rules out overseas ownership of farmland over five hectares.

“This simple measure would take some of the pressure off rural land prices, making it easier for New Zealand families to buy a farm, and will also help our current account deficit, as more profits will stay in New Zealand,” said Dr Norman.

“It is not in New Zealand’s long-term strategic economic interests to rubber stamp large-scale purchases of our farmland to overseas buyers whether they come from China, Australia or Sweden.”

ends


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