Sunday, April 8, 2012
Crafar Farm Sale Threatens Sovereignty
The Government has a difficult decision to make regarding the sale of the Crafar Farms. The Overseas Investment Office approved the sale but a high court decision demanded a rethink and a final decision needs to be made.
The arguments supporting the sale are largely about the gains from overseas investment and strengthening our relationship with China. There is also a view that to refuse the sale could be seen as xenophobic and we wouldn't want to upset our largest market for our dairy sales.
Russel Norman argued a strong case on Q&A today. The stand from the Greens has always been that there should be no land sales to other than New Zealanders and New Zealand residents and we even opposed the sale of land to Shania Twain. The long term importance of maintaining sovereignty over our productive land is very important leading into the future, we don't want to end up as tenants in our own country. We have already seen the risks of selling off strategic assets to overseas interests, not only does income derived from the asset shift offshore but the use and development of the resource may not always be in the best interests of our country. Russel also pointed out that there is no threat to our trade interests if the sale was refused because China is desperate for protein and after the melamine scare demand for clean sources of milk boosted our exports considerably.
There was also some criticism from Federated Farmers regarding the farms being sold as one lot, this effectively priced the properties beyond most New Zealanders and blocked local aspiring farmers from owning their own farms. The price of land is one of the reasons why many farmers are struggling financially even though the industry as a whole is booming. Continuing to allow overseas interests to buy our land will only increase values further and continue to push farm ownership beyond the reach of New Zealanders.
There is always a danger of being lured by a short term influx of money and this National Government, more than most, is attracted to such gains like a moth to a light bulb, but such temptation needs to be ignored to ensure the prosperity of our future generations.