Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

COMMENT: Crafar a welcome end to a weird week

COMMENT: Crafar a welcome end to a weird week

Comment by Pattrick Smellie

April 20 (BusinessDesk) – The Crafar farm decision is as much a relief as anything, at the end of a week of maddening crap talked about the economy.

After the badly run Crafar family empire, in receivership, was chased by the dodgy Chinese investors – who remembers May Wang? – the bid by Shanghai Pengxin for 7,000 hectares of dairying land has finally attracted the right decision and won’t hurt us anything like as much as it will benefit us.

Of course, we could have refused. Lands Minister Maurice Williamson is being disingenuous to suggest he was just following the letter of the law by approving the amended bid, which was based on the new economic benefit test created by High Court judge Forrest Miller’s ruling, which sent the original OK back to the Overseas Investment Office.

Governments can decide not to accept a recommendation from the OIO, even when a foreign bidder has jumped through every one of New Zealand’s unbelievably convoluted process hoops for the sale of land to foreign investors.

But as Foreign Minister Murray McCully said in a letter that Williamson sought, he foresaw “very serious implications” for the New Zealand-China relationship if that was the line New Zealand took.

To the Greens and an increasingly hysterical band of Labour MPs with economic portfolios, this will be evidence of our capitulation to the wily Orientals.

Sorry guys. The real threat is that China has plenty of other options. It’s a big world out there, and Beijing is the most powerful economic force in the world today.

As the Chinese Embassy’s urbane political counsellor, Cheng Lei, put it at a press briefing timed just before the Crafar announcement this morning, Fonterra is a big investor in China and is welcome.

The two countries could even grow two-way trade to $20 billion before the 2015 target formally set this week during the visit of fourth-ranked Communist Party official Jia Qinglin.

But only if we want to.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the economic debate, the Labour Party turned up its nose at every kind of new job available, from cigarette-roller to croupier to call centre operator, egged on by most other political parties.

So we’re back to wanting the nanny state, now, are we? What a luxury to feel the country is able to pass up gainful employment in legal industries.

Equally foolish were finance spokesman David Parker’s burblings on changing the Reserve Bank Act to “fix” the over-valued dollar. Any reputable analysis will show it’s not the nominal exchange rate that threatens New Zealand’s export competitiveness, but real exchange rate factors like low productivity.

Greens leader Russel Norman made similar comments, but he doesn’t expect to lead a government. Labour, on the other hand, is being watched now by investors for its stance if the Key government stumbles on as at present and loses the 2014 election.

What are some of the lessons from Crafar?

Top of the list: New Zealand’s overseas investment regime sucks. It’s a political process masquerading as a legal one. As a result, New Zealand has one of the poorest scores on international measures for the efficiency of its foreign investment regime. Since most of the country probably think that sounds good, it will be difficult to move to a better place. But New Zealand needs foreign direct investment, just like it needs jobs;

* The Overseas Investment Office needs friends. Whether it’s the complexity of the law or the competence of the staff –opinions are divided on that – the OIO is an institution under siege. It needs a board, possibly to merge with a similar agency, and not to be a sub-branch of Land Information New Zealand;

* Sir Michael Fay doesn’t get redemption from this one. Rather than unite the country, Fay’s lowball offer for the Crafar farms excited plenty of cynicism from those who didn’t want the land going to the Chinese. When Fay took more of a back seat, the rest of the consortium issued florid rants. Still, their appeal on aspects of the Miller decision awaits a court date.

* Matthew Hooton’s iPredict public events gaming website made the news for the first time. Journalists were swamped late Wednesday with rumours the Crafar decision would be announced on Friday, all of which tracked back to reports from Hooton’s predictive press statement.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

DIY Law: Government Exempts Some Home Improvements From Costly Consents

Homeowners, builders and DIYers will soon have an easier time making basic home improvements as the Government scraps the need for consents for low-risk building work such as sleep-outs, sheds and carports – allowing the construction sector ... More>>

ALSO:

Media Awards: The New Zealand Herald Named Newspaper Of The Year, Website Of The Year At Voyager Media Awards

The New Zealand Herald has been labelled a “powerhouse news operation” as it claims the two biggest prizes – Newspaper of the Year and Website of the Year – along with many individual awards at the 2020 Voyager Media Awards Website of the ... More>>

ALSO:

ASB Bank: ASB Takes The Lead Again With New Low Home Loan Interest Rate

ASB has moved again to support its customers, cutting a number of home loan rates, including the two-year special rate to a new low of 2.69% p.a. Craig Sims, ASB executive general manager Retail Banking says the reduced rate will be welcome news for many ... More>>

ALSO:

Nathan Hoturoa Gray: The Problems With Testing And Case Statistics For Covid-19

To begin to understand disease transmission in a country requires adequate testing of your population with properly vetted, accurate tests. As the world struggles to find what 'adequate percentage' of the population is necessary, (estimates predict ... More>>

ALSO:

RNZ: Fletcher Building To Lay Off 1000 Staff In New Zealand

The construction company will cut around 10 percent of its workforce as it struggles with the fallout from Covid-19. More>>

ALSO:

Can Pay, Won't Pay: Cashflow Moves Urged

Government Ministers are asking significant private enterprises to adopt prompt payment practices in line with the state sector, as a way to improve cashflow for small businesses. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Why We Should Legally Protect The Right To Work From Home

For understandable reasons, the media messaging around Level Two has been all about “freedom” and “celebration”, but this is not necessarily going to be a universal experience. When it comes to workplace relations, Level Two is just as likely to ... More>>

ALSO:


Telecoms: Spark Welcomes Spectrum Allocation And Prepares For 5G Rollout Over The Next 12 Months

Spark welcomes spectrum allocation and prepares for 5G rollout over the next 12 months Spark today welcomed the announcement of the direct allocation process of 5G spectrum, with the Company to be offered management rights to 60 MHz of 3.5 GHz ... More>>

ALSO:


Trade: Record Monthly Surplus As Imports Dive

Imports in April 2020 had their biggest fall since October 2009, resulting in a monthly trade surplus of $1.3 billion, Stats NZ said today. “This is the largest monthly trade surplus on record and the annual goods trade deficit is the lowest ... More>>

ALSO:


Media Blues: Stuff Chief Executive Buys Company For $1

Stuff chief executive Sinead Boucher has purchased Stuff from its Australian owners Nine Entertainment for $1.
The chief executive was returning the company to New Zealand ownership, with the sale is expected to be completed by 31 May.
"Our plan is to transition the ownership of Stuff to give staff a direct stake in the business as shareholders," Boucher said in a statement.... More>>

ALSO:

RNZ: Bar Reopening Night 'much, Much Quieter'

Pubs and bars are reporting a sluggish first day back after the lockdown, with the fear of going out, or perhaps the joy of staying home, thought to be a reason for the low numbers. More>>

ALSO:

Stats NZ: New Zealand’s Population Passes 5 Million

New Zealand's resident population provisionally reached 5 million in March 2020, Stats NZ said today. More>>

NIWA: Seven Weeks Of Clearing The Air Provides Huge Benefits: Scientist

Seven weeks of lockdown has provided evidence of how pollution can vanish overnight with benefits for the environment and individuals, says NIWA air quality scientist Dr Ian Longley. Dr Longley has been monitoring air quality in Auckland, Wellington ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: Milestone In Cash Flow Support To SMEs

A significant package of tax reforms will be pushed through all stages in Parliament today to throw a cash flow lifeline to small businesses. More>>

ALSO:



University Of Canterbury: Astronomers Discover The Science Behind Star Bursts That Light Up The Sky

University of Canterbury (UC) astronomers are part of an international team that has revealed how explosions on the surface of a white dwarf star can increase its brightness by thousands or millions of times making it look like a new star. For ... More>>

Air NZ: Air New Zealand Adds Business-timed Flights For Regions

Air New Zealand will operate business-timed flights in and out of a number of regional ports from next month.
The flights will allow customers in Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Nelson, Dunedin and Invercargill to undertake a day of business in either Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch... More>>

ALSO: