The government’s farmer Landcorp favoured a Chinese bidder ahead of a local Southland farmer to buy Jericho Station for the sake of an extra $200,000, says New Zealand First leader and Northland Member of Parliament, Winston Peters.
“The New Zealand taxpayer-owned Jericho Station, near Te Anau, is valued at $8.3m but Landcorp turned down a Southlander’s unconditional offer of $8.5m.
“That’s all on public record. Reliable sources now tell us that Landcorp accepted an offer of $8.7m from a Chinese buyer, subject to Overseas Investment Office (OIO) approval.
“If this $200,000 difference is true, then it is obvious National’s handpicked Landcorp board is not working in the best interests of New Zealand taxpayers.
“Finance Minister Steven Joyce confirmed in Parliament today to Deputy Leader Ron Mark that there had been no change in the 2010 Ministerial Directive Letter to Land Information New Zealand that sales must have a substantial and identifiable benefit for New Zealand.
“So, both Landcorp and the government must come clean and advise New Zealanders whether the Chinese offer was only $200,000 more than the local farmer’s offer. That is not a substantial benefit.
“New Zealanders are alarmed at the huge amount of valuable farm land being flogged off to foreign buyers under National.
“It is even worse when a New Zealand taxpayer owned farm is snapped up by a foreign bidder ahead of a local farmer all for the sake of $200,000,” says Mr Peters.