Act wants the government to include Landcorp in its asset sales programme.
Associate Primary Industry Spokesman Robin Grieve says:
“ACT believes the Government should not be involved in the business of farm ownership and that 100 per cent of Landcorp should be sold,” Mr Grieve said.
I agree that the government shouldn’t be in the business of farming but National campaigned on selling a minority share in a few state assets and Landcorp wasn’t among them.
For that reason the sale of the company shouldn’t happen this term. The sale could be part of a future campaign but Landcorp shouldn’t be sold as a whole.
Putting the whole company up for sale in its entirety would limit the number of potential buyers to a very few. Most if not all who could afford to pay the more than a billion and a half dollars its worth would be from overseas.
While I’m not opposed to overseas ownership in general it wouldn’t be sensible to structure a sale so that all the farms were almost certain to go to foreign interests.
The only reason for the government to own the farms is to maintain a land bank for treaty settlements.
Once that is no longer needed any farms left in state ownership should be put on the market one by one until they’re all sold.
The company has a good reputation for farm management and its possible that a company making use of that could also be floated.
Act is right that the state shouldn’t be farming but its policy for Landcorp to be sold as a whole would be neither politically nor financially sensible.
It would be easier to sell the policy and ensure a better return for the land by selling the farms individually and over time.