Labour is proposing tightening rules round the sale of farm land to foreigners.
The sale of farms to overseas investors will be restricted under proposed new legislation, Labour’s MP for Mount Roskill Phil Goff says.
“My Overseas Investment (Owning our Own Rural Land) Amendment Bill will be debated by Parliament after being drawn from the Member’s Ballot today.
“John Key once said ‘New Zealanders did not want to become tenants in their own land’. He never did anything about that; this Bill does.
“It stops wide purchase of New Zealand land by foreign investors unless significant benefit to New Zealand can be proven.
“Labour believes Kiwis are concerned about farms being sold to foreign buyers when there is no benefit to New Zealand. . .
Over at Keeping Stock Inventory 2 points out the hypocrisy in this when Labour had no qualms about selling the equivalent of 122 rugby fields a day when it was in power.
If those sales had caused problems a change of heart would be understandable but this policy isn’t based on principle, it’s appealing to emotion and is an attempt to out-Winston NZ First for the xenophobic vote.
Existing rules are already very tight and and place strict requirements on the purchasers.
This can provide more benefits for New Zealanders than if the land was sold to locals by, for example, requiring public access.
Foreigners might have more capital for development than locals too.
Property near us has just had Overseas Investment Office approval for sale to foreigners.
Their development plans require at least five new houses for extra staff. They are also planning to build another dairy shed which will require more staff and another couple of houses.
That will provide significant economic and social benefits.
They will be getting water from the North Otago Irrigation Company which requires independently audited farm environment plans each year which will ensure they look after water and soil quality too.
Labour’s trying to reconnect with the provinces but this policy is more likely to appeal to city people who never come closer to farming than a fast journey down the open road on the way to somewhere else.
Those of us who live in the country know it’s not who owns the land but who lives on it and what they do with it which has nothing to do with where they come from.