John Key is reported (Press, 18/3/14) as telling iwi leader Sir Mark Solomon and the public different things concerning NZ land sales to China.
Solomon was told the Government is encouraging China to lease rather than buy NZ land, whilst publicly Key denies there is any change to "the rules around foreign investments".
This double talk suggests Key will convey open sesame to China during a visit that commences today, and another position to the NZ public who are increasingly concerned about the sale of NZ property to China and other foreign interests.
Despite Government assurances to the contrary, land sales to foreign interests are dramatically increasing. Here are the latest available overall figures, from the Key Facts page of the CAFCA Website
In 2012, the Overseas Investment Office approved the sale of 43,080 hectares of freehold rural land and 8,554 hectares of leases and other interests in land to foreigners. About 10,000 hectares of the freehold land and almost all the leases and other interests in land were from one foreign investor to another. In the decade 2003 to 2012, the average was 133,942 hectares of freehold and 60,435 hectares of leases and other interests in land approved for sale. Statistics on sales of land to overseas interests are poorly recorded and incomplete. Our best estimate is that in 2011 at least 8.7 percent of New Zealand farmland including forestry, or 1.3 million hectares, is foreign-owned or controlled and it could have reached 10 percent. (Sources: Overseas Investment Commission and Overseas Investment Office. “Overseas Ownership Of Land: Far Greater Than The 1% The PM Claims”, by Bill Rosenberg)
John Key must cut out the double talk and signal a firm change of policy over foreign investments in NZ to both China and the New Zealand people
And why stop at China when talking about making foreigners lease rural land, as opposed to buying it?
This needs to be an across the board policy, not simply confined to one country because that happens to the one that is giving the Government political grief at the moment