28 Apr 2012

New Crafar farm appeal lodged

5:38 am on 28 April 2012

A consortium which tried unsuccessfully to buy the Crafar farms has lodged a fresh appeal against the Government's decision to allow the sale of the farms to Shanghai Pengxin of China.

Sir Michael Fay who heads the Crafar Farms Purchase Group lodged the appeal in the High Court at Wellington on Thursday.

Government ministers last week approved the Crafar deal upon a second recommendation from the Overseas Investment Office.

The Independent Purchase Group which includes iwi interests, lodged an appeal in February with the Court of Appeal, after the OIO's first recommendation that the sale be approved.

A spokesperson says the group is determined to take any practical way to stop the sale.

The new appeal to the High Court covers the same ground as the first one, which is that the Shanghai Pengxin bid fails the test of relevant business experience and acumen.

Federated Farmers says another legal challenge will further discourage overseas investment in New Zealand.

The chairperson Bruce Wills says he had hoped the last review would have been an end to the dispute over the sale.

He says other foreign investors will not want to be caught up in similar protracted legal action and may be put off investing money in local businesses.

And a spokesperson for Shanghai Pengxin says the Independent Purchase Group is grasping at straws.

Cedric Allen says the company owns several large farms overseas and more than meets the requirements of the Overseas Investment Act.

Mr Allen says the deal has been subject to the most intense scrutiny of any land sale in New Zealand and he does not believe the appeal will succeed.