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NZ wide open to massive land grab

18 December 2009

NZ wide open to massive land grab

New Zealand needs to tighten its rules around overseas investment as China and the Gulf States go on a world-wide shopping spree for prime land, said Green Party Co-Leader Dr Russel Norman.

Dr Norman is concerned by news reports of a proposed deal involving a New Zealand buyer acting as a proxy for a subsidiary of the Dubai Government, which involves thousands of hectares of South Island farmland.

“The Overseas Investment Act needs to be strengthened to protect New Zealand’s sovereignty. We must ensure we pick up any attempt to use proxies to avoid the intent of the Act,” said Dr Norman.

“Overseas interests will be looking to buy New Zealand’s agricultural land due to the long-term strategic value of such purchases - we need the Overseas Investment Office to be scrutinising these deals.”

The Green Party believes a National Interest Analysis should be required under the Overseas Investment Act for all foreign investment proposals involving land and marine farms.

“Should overseas interests buy up large chunks of New Zealand’s primary production we risk losing sovereignty.

“The present Government should stop trying to weaken our already loose rules regarding overseas investment.”

ENDS

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