Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


OIA Says Murdoch of Good Character Because He Told Them So

Overseas Investment Says Rupert Murdoch of Good Character Because He Told Them So!

In May the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA) wrote to the Overseas Investment Office: “In light of the recent finding by a British Parliament Select Committee that Rupert Murdoch is “not fit” to lead a major international company (see http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/may/01/rupert-murdoch-not-fit-select-committee), and in light of the fact that Murdoch’s News Ltd owns 43.65% of the shares of Sky Network Television Ltd, when is the OIO going to review, in terms of the Overseas Investment Act and accompanying Regulations, whether all of those in control of Sky are of good character and, if not, require Sky either to divest or Rupert Murdoch to relinquish any control of News Ltd?”.

This week we received the OIO’s considered decision (see attached letter from Annelies McClure, OIO Manager). Basically it boils down to saying that the OIO is not bothered about a British Parliament cross-party Select Committee finding that Murdoch is not fit to lead a major international company. The most extraordinary reason given for the OIO being satisfied with the “good character” of Murdoch and the other individuals exercising control over News Corporation is that he and they told the OIO that they are of good character, in the form of statutory declarations to that effect. In other words, the OIO takes his and their word for it, with no independent checking required. What a bloody joke!

CAFCA has documented the OIO’s long history of going to extraordinary lengths to rubberstamp the “good character” of all sorts of dubious characters in control of overseas companies whom it approved. To check out some of those go to www.cafca.org.nz Search, Site Level Search, keywords “good character”. You’ll find plenty there.

And the latest example is attached, namely an article by my colleague James Ayers in the forthcoming August issue of Foreign Control Watchdog (not yet online), which analyses in great detail the OIO’s truly heroic efforts to vouch for the good character of Kim Dotcom, based entirely on the OIO’s own file on the subject. In that case the OIO was overruled by one Cabinet Minister (the since retired Simon Power), who persuaded his colleague Maurice Williamson to reverse his previous approval of Dotcom’s application. Read the article (see Art 22 attachment).

It was a hopeful sign that the OIO, backed by Ministers, turned down the original bid by Natural Dairy (fronted by May Wang) to buy the Crafar Farms, because it wasn’t satisfied as to the good character of the people involved. CAFCA is also very pleased that the OIO has, very belatedly, taken our advice and is taking court action to divest May Wang’s company UBNZ of the four Crafar Farms that it bought without OIO permission in 2010. But this is the only case we’ve ever seen where the OIO has actually declared prospective foreign investors to not be of good character and therefore ineligible to join the garage sale that passes for foreign investment policy in this country.

The OIO’s Rupert Murdoch decision is just the latest proof of its role as a doorman (actually a doormat would be more accurate) for the transnational corporations and overseas individuals inexorably buying up, and profiting from, New Zealand companies and land. What we need is a bouncer. And, more fundamentally, we need a foreign investment law with teeth, one that states that these people are guests in our home and are here on our terms, a law that needs to be backed up by politicians who put the national interest ahead of their starry eyed infatuation with “globalisation and the open economy”.

Murray Horton

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Some After-thoughts About The Climate Change Commission Report

The notion that New Zealand is pluckily - or foolishly – punching above its weight in the march towards carbon neutrality by the year 2050 seems entirely deluded. Either way though, the idea seems too useful for the politicians to surrender it willingly... More>>


National: National Will Reverse Interest Deductibility Changes

The arrival of the belated interest deductibility and Brightline rules discussion document brings with it confirmation of what an unprincipled mess the proposed legislation is, National’s Shadow Treasurer Andrew Bayly and Housing spokesperson Nicola Willis say... More>>

Government: 1 Million More Pfizer Doses To Arrive In July

Pfizer has scheduled delivery of an estimated 1 million doses of vaccine to New Zealand during July, COVID1-9 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today... More>>

Merit: Queen's Birthday Honours 2021 List

The full list of those acknowledged... More>>


Jewish Council: New Zealand Not Immune From Rise In Antisemitism

The representative body of New Zealand Jewry, the NZ Jewish Council (NZJC), has expressed concern about the high number of antisemitic incidents in New Zealand recorded last month. Spokesperson for the NZJC, Juliet Moses, said... More>>

NZNO: Nurses Reject DHB Offer And Confirm Strike Action

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation says its 30,000 members who work in DHBs have voted overwhelmingly to reject a second offer in their current round of multi-employer collective agreement (MECA) negotiations... More>>





InfoPages News Channels