21 Apr 2011

Attitude to foreign land ownership questioned

10:40 am on 21 April 2011

A Waikato University agribusiness specialist says those calling for restrictions on sales of farmland to foreigners need to think about whether the same should apply to New Zealanders who buy land in other countries.

The Overseas Investment Office is assessing an application by a second Chinese company, the Shanghai Pengxin Group, to buy the 16 Crafar farms that are in receivership.

Revised OIO rules mean the Government now applies a more rigorous test to applications to see how foreign ownership would benefit the country.

Associate Professor Stuart Locke, director of the Institute of Business Studies at the university, says New Zealand needs to make up its mind one way or the other about the issue and have very clear guidelines.

He says it's hard to criticise overseas owners for sending their profits off-shore when New Zealand companies are doing the same thing.