20 Aug 2010

No threat of foreign farm buy up seen by KPMG

12:55 pm on 20 August 2010

An agribusiness consultant sees no basis for any public concern about a large-scale foreign buy-up of New Zealand farms.

A bid by Chinese interests for 16 Crafar family farms, currently in receivership, has triggered calls for tighter controls on foreign land purchases.

But a report from the accountancy and consultancy firm KPMG, argues there is no justification for any significant changes to overseas investment rules.

Agribusiness head Ian Proudfoot sees the Hong Kong-based Natural Dairy offer for the Crafar farms as an 'opportunistic' bid because the properties came on to the market.

He does not think it signals the start of a wave of foreign agricultural investment in this country and says there are strong economic reasons for that.

Mr Proudfoot thinks countries looking for food security are more likely to focus on the likes of Africa, South America and the former Soviet Union as cheaper sources of food.

He thinks that's equally true of China, despite interest there in safe food products such as New Zealand milk powder.