Ministers can use judgement

Quote of the day:

 . . .   the court’s robust decision restores much-needed clarity to New Zealand’s foreign investment regime.

The upshot of the Fay-led challenges is that the bar has been raised for foreign buyers of farms or businesses worth more than $100 million. But Cabinet ministers are entitled to rely on their judgment when it comes to assessing the additional value to New Zealand that a foreign bidder brings when acquiring assets.

Critically, the court has shot a massive hole in the notion that a foreign buyer must have direct industry experience if they are to buy local farms or $100 million-plus Kiwi businesses. Fran O’Sullivan

Some legislation allows Ministers no latitude at all, the law is the law in those cases and Ministers have no discretion over its application. But other legislation, among which is that governing overseas investment, allows them to exercise their judgement.

In this case, the sale of the former Crafar Farms to Shanghai Pengxin, they decided that the company could add value to New Zealand, and imposed very strict conditions on the purchase to ensure it would.

The opposition to the sale is almost all based on emotion.

Now the Court has ruled in the purchaser’s favour the company and Landcorp will be able to get on with running the farms and the sooner they do that the sooner they’ll prove the doubters wrong.

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