The Sunday Star Times put the sale of the Crafar Farms into perspective with a story on how much land has been sold to people from which countries in the last five years.
Figures released by the Overseas Investment Office show that of the 872,313 hectares of gross land sold to foreign interests over the past five years only 223 hectares were sold to Chinese.
People from the landlocked principality of Liechtenstein had purchased 10 times more land than the Chinese – 2,144ha in the same period.
The top buyers were the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and Israel. The United States had 194 purchases for a total of 193,208ha.
The figures do not show if there are any New Zealand ownership shares involved.
Nor do the figures show how many of the purchasers were sales from foreigners to foreigners and Inquiring Mind points out the difference between net sales and gross sales.
Nor do they include how much land owned by foreigners was sold back to New Zealanders.
Last week the sale of land to foreigners got a lot of attention but the purchase of foreign-owned shares in Dairy Holdings by New Zealanders has not got nearly as much attention.
Yet this sale brought a 25% share in 58 farms covering nearly 15,000 effective hectares, back into local ownerhsip.
Another omission from the discussion on sales of land to farmers is facts on what they do with it.
A farm in our neighbourhood is owned by Frenchman. We have friends from Wales and the United States who own land here and whose farming and environemtnal practices and community involvement would put many New Zealand farmers to shame.
It isn’t where the owners come from, it’s what they do with the land that really matters.