Sale of Crafar to Shanghai Pengxin not in NZ’s best interest
15 February 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
Sale of Crafar to Shanghai Pengxin not in NZ’s best interests
The High Court’s decision to overturn the sale of Crafar farms to Shanghai Pengxin shows National got it wrong and in doing so ignored the best interests of New Zealanders, says Labour Leader David Shearer.
“The Government’s handling of this process has been absolutely shambolic. It always intended to sell this valuable land to Shanghai Pengxin despite clear evidence that it was not the right decision for New Zealand.
“John Key repeatedly claimed that the law did not allow him or his ministers to over-rule the recommendation made by the Overseas Investment Office to approve the Chinese consortium’s application.
“Justice Miller’s decision today proves that John Key was wrong and his claims were just an excuse to justify his ministers’ poor decision-making. Ministers do have the ability to turn down recommendations by the Overseas Investment Office. When in Government, Labour ministers did exactly that in several cases.”
In its ruling today, the High Court makes several strong comments about this handling of this case, said David Shearer
“Justice Miller ruled that Ministers ‘misdirected themselves in law’. He found their error was ‘not a mere technicality’ and that the economic benefits from Shanghai Pengxin were ‘materially overstated’.
“Labour said from the beginning that the decision to sell to Shanghai Pengxin was wrong. It was not in New Zealand’s national interest. We do not want to sell valuable land to foreign investors only to see profits that could have been reaped by New Zealand farmers and injected into our own economy heading offshore.
“John Key has repeatedly warned there is a risk that New Zealanders could become tenants in our own land. He now has the chance to make sure that doesn’t happen in this case.
“I urge him to do what is right for New Zealand.”