IP can go land can’t

August 16, 2014

A large majority of New Zealanders want the government to clamp down on farm sales to foreigners.

The latest Stuff.co.nz/Ipsos poll suggests three-quarters of voters say it should be made harder for foreign investors to buy large tracts of farmland, while just under a quarter say it should not.

Click here to see full graphics

But opinion was more evenly divided over whether too much farmland had already passed into foreign ownership, with 52 per cent agreeing and 41 per cent disagreeing.

I suspect many of those asked wouldn’t know how much land is in foreign ownership or understand the figure if they did.

Few would understand the difference between productivity from a very small area of prime horticultural land and a large area in the high country either.

However, a majority of people questioned for the poll also thought foreign investment benefited the economy. . .

Of course it does.

Foreign investment brings money into New Zealand, helps employ New Zealanders and develop assets, including but not only land.

Why do land sales cause an uproar when company sales do not?

Has anyone noticed an uproar over Golden State Food’s purchase of Snap Fresh?

Golden State Foods (GSF), one of the largest diversified food processors and distributors in the U.S., announced today that it has acquired ownership of Snap Fresh Foods, a New Zealand-based provider of premium salad greens, vegetable mixes, baby-peeled carrots, fresh sprouts, dressings and condiments. The acquisition of Snap Fresh Foods includes two facilities in New Zealand that service that region as well as export to China.

“We look forward to expanding our regional produce foodservice business into the fast-growing retail sector with such a strong and successful brand as Snap Fresh Foods,” said Neil Cracknell, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Golden State Foods. “The addition of Snap Fresh provides great growth opportunities for GSF particularly in the retail salads segment, while providing new products and capabilities to our existing food service customers in the region.”

The only reaction I’ve noticed is this exchange on Twitter:

We have a lot to gain from foreign investment.

If there are concerns about potential losses too any change to rules should be based on facts not emotion – and keep in mind that intellectual property is portable and can be taken from New Zealand but land isn’t and can’t.

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