Dom Post on Crafar

April 21st, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

No application by a foreign investor looking to buy New Zealand land has attracted more attention than Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin’s bid for the farms.

It is hard to escape the conclusion that opposition to the deal, approved yesterday, is mostly driven by the nationality of the purchaser.

Of course it is. Not all of it, but much of it.

When Canadian film director James Cameron purchased more than 1000ha of Wairarapa land, including a 250ha dairy farm, the news was generally welcomed, even though the residency requirements he must meet mean he has to live in New Zealand for only 44 days in each of the final two years of a three-year investment period. The sale of the Crafar farms, on the other hand, has met howls of protest, despite Shanghai Pengxin having to satisfy 27 stringent requirements.

These include establishing a farm school on one of the properties, to be run by state-owned enterprise Landcorp, which will also manage the farms, and providing $5000 university scholarships to two students. It must also provide public walking access across two of the farms, protect Maori archaeological sites and undertake significant conservation requirements.

The company has also, apparently on its own initiative, undertaken to spend at least $100 million over five years promoting New Zealand dairy products in China and elsewhere in Asia, a key developing market. The increased trade that could flow from that will benefit all New Zealand dairy farmers and, with it, the wider economy.

As I have said for some time, I see this sale as having huge opportunities for New Zealand.

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46 Responses to “Dom Post on Crafar”

  1. infused (654 comments) says:

    Key owned campbell last night. Well worth a watch: http://ondemand.tv3.co.nz/Campbell-Live-Friday-April-20-2012/tabid/119/articleID/6262/MCat/73/Default.aspx

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  2. Johnboy (16,496 comments) says:

    But Sir Michael Fay is an honourable man! :)

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  3. Yvette (2,808 comments) says:

    Yes, Fay just suddenly went to live in Switzerland because he wanted to be close to his bank account …

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  4. Johnboy (16,496 comments) says:

    And for the mountain air Yvette!

    Whatever happened to his buddy David?

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  5. tvb (4,416 comments) says:

    Fay has not placed a deal on the table. He wants to scupper this deal and then in a buyer’s position offer virtually nothing for these farms. Let us not be naive about Fay and what he stands for. He will do a quick flick and then flee off to Switzerland to his tax shelter.

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  6. Johnboy (16,496 comments) says:

    Philanthropy

    Richwhite has been active in his support for and participation in numerous not-for-profit, cultural and community initiatives, including:

    Being a benefactor of the “Play it Strange” Trust for which the David Richwhite Lyric Award was created [4]
    Sponsoring a new high-performance rowing centre at University of Otago [5]
    Founding and sponsoring the Fay Richwhite Corporate triathlon series in New Zealand and Australia
    Patronising New Zealand’s exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2009[6]
    Formerly acting as Chair of the Ellerslie Flower Show
    Gifting a KZ1 (yacht) to the Auckland Maritime Museum [7]
    Donating to Women’s Refuge, the Salvation Army, Starship Hospital and Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

    What a jolly good chap he has become ! :)

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  7. JC (955 comments) says:

    Why don’t Fay, Winston, Russel, Hone, and Shearer proclaim the “White New Zealand Policy”, make Maori “Honorary Whites” and make it *the* next election issue.

    JC

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  8. DJP6-25 (1,387 comments) says:

    It sure looks like the right people got it after all.

    JC 2:52 pm. If Labour thought it would get them more votes, they’d do it in a heart beat. As socialists, they see everything in terms of how does it help us build socialisim? Morality and rules don’t enter in to it.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  9. Johnboy (16,496 comments) says:

    You may be on to something there JC. We could call it “Separate Development”.

    Should satisfy all the various racial factions eh bro? :)

    “Racial segregation in South Africa began in colonial times under Dutch and British rule. However, apartheid as an official policy was introduced following the general election of 1948. New legislation classified inhabitants into four racial groups (“native”, “white”, “coloured”, and “Asian”),[1] and residential areas were segregated, sometimes by means of forced removals. Non-white political representation was completely abolished in 1970, and starting in that year black people were deprived of their citizenship, legally becoming citizens of one of ten tribally based self-governing homelands called bantustans, four of which became nominally independent states. The government segregated education, medical care, beaches, and other public services, and provided black people with services inferior to those of white people.[2]”

    Hell the Chinese Crafar farms could be classified as in the “Asian” Chinkustan!! :)

    Aotearoa / New Zealand. The way you want it cuzzies!! :)

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  10. Viking2 (11,467 comments) says:

    Gifting a KZ1 (yacht) to the Auckland Maritime Museum [7]
    What else would you do with junk?
    Store it in the garage. Nah better to give it to someone else to store.

    Garages are full of junk. Perhaps he didn’t have a big enough garage eh.

    Is that being too cynical. Nah of course not. :roll:

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  11. ben (2,379 comments) says:

    At the margin, all those goodies extracted from Pengxin is money out of the receiver’s pockets. Where are they in this debate?

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  12. tvb (4,416 comments) says:

    I do see a possible weakness in the Ministers’ decision making. The letter from McCully released by Williamson was an attempt to influence the Ministers and I am not at all sure that is a relevant consideration that the Ministers should take into account. It was unnecessary and may yet still scupper the deal.

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  13. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    DPF writes:

    …As I have said for some time, I see this sale as having huge opportunities for New Zealand.

    More like huge opportunities for the banks to recoup their recklessly made loans.

    When John Ki retires to Hawaii in three years, he’ll be welcome in Shanghai, though.

    Trotting out the “racism” card on behalf of the China comrades is a joke. “Racism” is trotted out five times a day in NZ, and in this case as in many of the others, it indicates there are bugger all other grounds to fall back on.

    It would be wise to be careful of becoming cheerleaders for Red China. Remember what Stalin said about the fools like Bernard Shaw who made a two week trip to the Soviet Union and returned to the West making statements like “we have seen the future and it works”. Stalin called these folk “useful idiots”

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  14. smttc (752 comments) says:

    tvb, I confess I share your disquiet. I can only assume that the application prima facie meeting statutory criteria for approval, Williamson put that question to McCully as part of an overall national interest query on the basis that if the transaction was not in the national interest, it should be declined even though it meet all other criteria for approval.

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  15. JC (955 comments) says:

    Well, Jack5,

    We have this enormous coincidence of 300,000 ha sold to white foreigners, including 50,000ha sold to Shania Twain.. and the first significant sale to Chinese goes ballistic.. yeah right.. on that coincidence.

    “Stalin called these folk “useful idiots”.”

    Michael Fay didn’t say that publicly, but he proved it over and over again and again on the Crafer Farms. He’s bosom buddies with Winston, the Greens, Labour and Maori.. and we know how thats going to turn out.

    JC

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  16. Other_Andy (2,676 comments) says:

    Jack5

    And the money they used to buy the land?
    Came out of our pocket, including yours.

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  17. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    The rich prick bashing of Fay here is what one would expect on The Standard……lets not slip fellas….

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  18. David in Chch (516 comments) says:

    Hmmm. All this noise and bluster against a sale to a Chinese firm, and if that bid had failed then who was next in line? Sir Fay. Wait, isn’t he the bloke who was able to buy a whole swag of privatised stuff from Roger Douglas and friends when they were in the Labour government of the mid to late 1980’s? Who then broke those up and sold off the various bits to all and sundry, especially overseas interests, and made a lot of money doing so? Then moved to Switzerland?

    And all of you who disapprove of selling the farms to the Chinese prefer Sir Michael Fay?

    Hmmm. Interesting.

    And Fay was made Sir Michael by a Labour government, Scorned. And it is not rich prick bashing, merely noting what he did the last time he got hold of a whole lot of NZ properties and companies.

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  19. David in Chch (516 comments) says:

    Oh, and Jack5 – it’s not the Chinese government buying the farms. It is a Chinese-based company. Funny how people forget that countries change and evolve with time, and their policies and approaches with them.

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  20. KH (695 comments) says:

    Cameron comes into this country and will contribute to New Zealand. With his personal skills and ability to achieve. It’s a great thing.
    Pengxin bring nothing but their money. And won’t contribute otherwise. Dumb to allow it.
    But just to be clear. If a Filipino family comes to provide labour in a milking shed in Southland (there are lots) does well and manages to buy their own farm. Are here to stay and contibute to our country. That’s fine by me.

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  21. RF (1,396 comments) says:

    Come on you lot. You have short memories. Fay screwed us and then shot off over seas. So much for a loyal NZer. The guy in the pin stripe suit known as Winnie the Poo has a very selective memory and is not to be trusted. I support the Chinese deal.

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  22. Komata (1,191 comments) says:

    DinChCh re: ‘Oh, and Jack5 – it’s not the Chinese government buying the farms. It is a Chinese-based company. Funny how people forget that countries change and evolve with time, and their policies and approaches with them.’

    It is also worth remembering that the COMMUNIST Party is still in control in COMMUNIST China. The Politbureau may have adopted Communist Capitalism, and appear to be all sweet and light, but this is only because it suits it to do so at the moment. Leopards don’t change their spots and the Politbureau is not likely to be the exception. Those who purchase land in other countries (even New Zealand) do so with the permission and agreement of the Party, so what has happened with Crafar is that the farms have now become the property of the Chinese Communist party. To think otherwise is to ignore the realities. China is expanding its influence, securing its sources of raw materials. In Africa (specifically Zimbabwe and Congo) it’s Rare Earths. In Australia it’s Iron Ore, In New Zealand it’s Dairy Products. The Dragon is very, very clever and very. very patient, and knows the value of the old adage ‘softly softly, catchee monkey’. It uses stealth to achieve what other imperial nations have had to use force to obtain. ‘Imperialism by stealth’ is a very deliberate policy that is being followed – successfully it should be added. China also knows that, since it is its debtor, the USA is essentially helpless – despite Obama’s words to the contrary. New Zealand is now (willingly) part of the empire and the Chinese have all the advantages. We just haven’t realised that fact, although we will in due course. As I said, Leopards DON’T change their spots.

    We live in interesting times.

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  23. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    FIRST:

    Other-Andy posted at 6.49, of the banks’ foolishly large lending to the Crafars:

    …And the money they used to buy the land? Came out of our pocket, including yours.

    C’mon, Other-Andy? Do you think the banks are co-operatives? Well one is, Rabobank, but it’s a Dutch co-operative, with no money out of our pockets.

    The main trading banks are Australian owned or, in ASB’s case, controlled. They don’t distribute their profits to “our pockets” so why should we be expected to contribute to their losses. If they fuck-up should NZ bail them out by letting them hock off a chunk of our arable land? No way.

    SECOND:

    “David in Chch” posted at 7.50:

    … it’s not the Chinese government buying the farms. It is a Chinese-based company. Funny how people forget that countries change and evolve with time, and their policies and approaches with them.

    1. China is still a communist state. The Chinese Communist Party still runs China, and cements its position through direct control of the People’s Liberation Army. There is no substantial political opposition party.

    2. Many Chinese companies active abroad have close ties with the Communist Party and the PLA. Many of the new rich in China come from the families of party members. For example, Hutchison Whampoa, the world’s biggest port operator is one (source 1999 investigative report by the American Foreign Policy Council). Family members of senior party officials – the so-called princelings – are appointed to top-level positions in big companies.

    China’s capitalism is controlled by the party and the PLA. The four biggest banks are State owned and make up four of the world’s 16 biggest banks. In decreasing order of size they are: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, and Bank of China.

    China’s companies cannot easily be separated from the state.

    The Chinese have always been brilliant business people. They are not buying land in NZ (and also in many other agricultural countries) because they are philanthropists who want to help poor Kiwis get their agriculture up to scratch.

    It’s naive or misleading to portray them as victims in the ruckus about the Crafar farms deal.

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  24. Other_Andy (2,676 comments) says:

    Jack5

    “…And the money they used to buy the land? Came out of our pocket, including yours.
    C’mon, Other-Andy? Do you think the banks are co-operatives? Well one is, Rabobank, but it’s a Dutch co-operative, with no money out of our pockets.

    I am talking about the Chinese. If you don’t want them to buy land here, don’t give them your money. If you think we shouldn’t sell them the land because they are evil communists (and I go with part of that) then also boycott Chinese products. Starting with the computer you are using at the moment with components made by Foxconn.

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  25. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    The land was already in foreign hands. If Fay had wanted it he should have upped his offer. Simple as that. he got enough bargains the last time round.

    Kiwis love shooting themselves in the foot.

    We are a poor country and absolutely reliant on foreign investment. We have bugger all else to sell apart from our land.

    Our only real choice is sell to the one with the cash or face a future of penury.

    We also have to ramp up drilling, fracking and energy exploration. I want my grandkids to have a comfortable life with good schools and health care. We have to sell what we have while we have willing buyers and work much much harder at building our national wealth.

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  26. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    OtherAndy posted at 9.57:

    …I am talking about the Chinese. If you don’t want them to buy land here, don’t give them your money.

    Trading does not equal investment. The Chinese are happy with that in their own case. They will sell everyone steel, but no-one else can get a stake in their steel industry, the world’s biggest, nor can they buy land.

    Free trade does not necessarily entail freedom of investment.

    Brazil and Argentina are tightening up on land sales to foreigners. You can bet that this won’t affect the booming growth of Brazil, and probably won’t affect Argentina.

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  27. Other_Andy (2,676 comments) says:

    “Trading does not equal investment. The Chinese are happy with that in their own case. They will sell everyone steel, but no-one else can get a stake in their steel industry, the world’s biggest, nor can they buy land.”

    That is correct. We can change the law as well and stop foreigners buying land…just not retrospectively. I am actually against foreigners buying land. They should be able to lease only.

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  28. Barnsley Bill (983 comments) says:

    Will the hole fill with water? The racism of the left laid bare for all to see.

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  29. Redbaiter (8,801 comments) says:

    “Racism”

    Braindead Barnsley rushes to use the language of the left as usual.

    Just another clueless Marxist stooge dragging down the right.

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  30. JC (955 comments) says:

    Other Andy (and others),

    NZ is already one of the most restrictive places on Earth when it comes to foreign ownership and investment:

    http://www.oecd.org/document/45/0,3746,en_2649_34529562_47216237_1_1_1_34529562,00.html

    Yep, we are more than twice as restrictive as the OECD average.. right up there with China, Japan, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. The World Bank also shows that the Middle East and Nth African dictatorships have a freer land FDI policy than we do:

    “Relative to other regions, countries in the Middle East and North Africa are fairly restrictive on foreign equity ownership in many sectors. An
    exception is Tunisia, which has no limits on foreign ownership of firms in nearly all sectors measured by IAB. In several countries in the region,
    extractive industries (mining, oil, and gas) are much less open to foreign capital participation than in other regions, as are electricity and
    transportation. Morocco, Tunisia, and the Republic of Yemen restrict foreign equity ownership in electricity transmission and distribution. Equity
    restrictions also exist in port and airport operations. *On the other hand, no country in the region imposes limits on foreign participation in
    agriculture and forestry.”*

    Now lets turn to a couple of other issues that worry some, particularly the Greens. They see this sale as a loss of sovereignty.. WTF? sovereignty is not determined by how much land you own or don’t own, but by the quality of our laws and whether we can apply them over 100% of our national territory (excluding embassies).. and the fact is we do indeed apply all our laws to our territory and as we’ve seen we call the tune on the Crafer farms wrt those 27 additional requirements we’ve placed on the Chinese.
    The next typical lefty/Green BS is they say this is a sale of 8000ha of *arable* land.. WTF?.. I reckon I could find a few flat areas in the Southern Alps that are *arable* by that definition, including most of the lowland podocarp/hardwood forests the Greens are so keen to protect.

    Finally, NZ had a “Golden Age” 1900-1950 when we consistently were 1st to 3rd in the world for quality of life and per capita income.. how the hell did we manage that when Poms still owned so many of the farms and owned and controlled the shipping and freezing works?

    Could it be that foreign direct investment, just like the World Bank and OECD say, that the 20 most developed countries have about three times the FDI of less developed countries and that FDI in strongly sovereign countries is a major source of their wealth.. despite foreign investors taking their profits out of the country?

    Could it be just like the Chinese ambassador said a couple of days ago.. that we should see Asian investment as a sign of confidence in NZ, its potential, its laws and stability? I think so, and more to the point I think it shows we have been looking inwards these last 40 years as we slid down the OECD ladder and our relatively low and slow growth is a direct consequence of our insular attitudes.

    JC

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  31. Redbaiter (8,801 comments) says:

    JC, I have always appreciated your views, but you’re wrong on this one.

    Cuddling up to totalitarian communist dictators is a bad idea no matter who else does it. Just as various countries cuddled up to Hitler’s Germany pre WWII, and gave that evil regime a false legitimacy, this too will have consequences we will all regret.

    Its not a matter of race, as the proponents would try to make it, and its not a matter of commercial good sense, as those who stand to profit would make it, (or their blogging friends).

    Its a matter of a democratic country dealing with a ruthless band of totalitarian murderers and thugs who suppress their people by force of arms, indoctrinate children and carry out all the other usual abuses that such gangs of totalitarian thugs always do.

    A man was just murdered by one of these scum for exposing the corruption and thuggery that underlies the way these people do business. See link-

    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-04-17/china/31355156_1_gu-and-heywood-bo-wife-chinese-leader

    And NZ and the National Party rush to lick the boots of these criminals.

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  32. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    RedBaiter I agree with you on this. These farms are being sold to a company from a country where NZ’rs do not enjoy the same right to purchase rural land holdings.

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  33. grumpyoldhori (2,362 comments) says:

    Hmm, a choice between the Chinese and that scumbag Fay, not that difficult is it.

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  34. Michael (909 comments) says:

    Watched the “Campbell Live bought to you by Mazda” and laughed when Campbell played the corruption charge. When did Campbell ever run an article critical of Mazda?

    (Maybe it’s because I’m a McDonald I think anyone named Campbell are ill-mannered, treacherous scum. Even after 320 years…)

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  35. Paulus (2,626 comments) says:

    I see that a Singaporean family company is buying the Hilton Hotel on the Wharf in Auckland.
    The Michael Kum family are buying another property in New Zealand.
    Where is the screaming ?

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  36. JC (955 comments) says:

    Red,

    “And NZ and the National Party rush to lick the boots of these criminals.”

    Then we are in good company.

    China’s top ten trading partners are US, Japan, Hong Kong, Sth Korea, Taiwan, Germany, Australia, Malaysia, Brazil and India. The things that characterize these countries are that they are mostly democratic, capitalist and centre.. centre/right.

    https://www.uschina.org/statistics/tradetable.html

    I might add that list is pretty much of the order of *our* top ten which we trade and compete with. Thats important because we would destroy ourselves if we didn’t compete in the China market. When we traded almost exclusively with the UK we could afford to be standoffish.. but not any more.

    JC

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  37. wat dabney (3,756 comments) says:

    We can change the law as well and stop foreigners buying land…just not retrospectively. I am actually against foreigners buying land. They should be able to lease only.

    Yes, dirty foreigners eh, Andy? Dirty, dirty foreigners.

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  38. Redbaiter (8,801 comments) says:

    JC, you must have missed the starting sentence of my argument-

    “Cuddling up to totalitarian communist dictators is a bad idea no matter who else does it.

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  39. JC (955 comments) says:

    “Where is the screaming ?”

    The left’s favorite knight has advised he hasn’t undermined the hotel’s reputation sufficiently as yet, also, local iwi is demanding too high a price for the protests.

    JC

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  40. big bruv (13,884 comments) says:

    Is this not an issue of property rights? Who the hell is the government, or the left to tell me who I can sell my property to and for what price?

    If the Yanks, the Brits, the Ockers or the bloody Chinese want to purchase my farm/land/house/business then anybody else has the right to better their offer of keep the fuck out of it.

    Clearly those against the Chinese buying the Crafar Farms are racist, there is no other logical explanation.

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  41. JC (955 comments) says:

    “JC, you must have missed the starting sentence of my argument-

    “Cuddling up to totalitarian communist dictators is a bad idea no matter who else does it. ””

    At which point we have to weigh up the consequences of standing aside, and in my view the consequences outweigh moral concerns. In China’s case we can see what has happened in trade history.. in the 17th century China had 25% of world trade.. in the next several centuries it did a New Zealand and retreated into isolation, its trade position dropped to single figures and became ripe for a Communist takeover. Over the last 30 years it has progressively liberalised, instituted a Property Rights Act (2007) and regained its former trading position.

    China is moving faster towards a democracy than most non free countries, and NZ is slowly becoming more like the China of 1950 because of xenophobia.

    JC

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  42. smttc (752 comments) says:

    In fairness to the so-called screamers, and don’t think for a fuckin second that I support them, their beef seems to be with the sale of arable/productive land. I doubt they give a shit about who owns residential property or who are the landlords of NZ’s office blocks.

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  43. hj (6,991 comments) says:

    Clearly those against the Chinese buying the Crafar Farms are racist, there is no other logical explanation.
    ……………………………..
    National calls itself “National” yet you are all against nationalism (except when it suits you). You’ve made your money via asset inflation and instead of letting the cake deflate you want to be rescued by the Chinese. The trade here is the benefit of being a member of a nation which is people low and land rich for one where population is ginourmous and millionaires abound, while the ration of people to arable land is high.

    The libertarians on the left want a free flow of labour across borders. Welfare would soon go but there would be plenty of work wiping bottoms for the Big -headed Bruv’s of this world.

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  44. IHStewart (388 comments) says:

    ” Dai praised Kim Jong-un, the young leader who is the third and latest dynastic ruler of North Korea’s one-party state.

    Dai voiced “confidence that under the leadership of Kim Jong-un, the First Secretary of the Workers Party of Korea, the Korean party, government and people will constantly score new successes in building a strong and prosperous country”, said the report.”

    Got to love the Chinese.

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  45. hj (6,991 comments) says:

    Once feted as saviours in much of Africa, Chinese have come to be viewed with mixed feelings—especially in smaller countries where China’s weight is felt all the more. To blame, in part, are poor business practices imported alongside goods and services. Chinese construction work can be slapdash and buildings erected by mainland firms have on occasion fallen apart. A hospital in Luanda, the capital of Angola, was opened with great fanfare but cracks appeared in the walls within a few months and it soon closed. The Chinese-built road from Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, to Chirundu, 130km (81 miles) to the south-east, was quickly swept away by rains.

    Business, Chinese style
    Chinese expatriates in Africa come from a rough-and-tumble, anything-goes business culture that cares little about rules and regulations. Local sensitivities are routinely ignored at home, and so abroad. Sinopec, an oil firm, has explored in a Gabonese national park. Another state oil company has created lakes of spilled crude in Sudan. Zimbabwe’s environment minister said Chinese multinationals were “operating like makorokoza miners”, a scornful term for illegal gold-panners.
    Employees at times fare little better than the environment. At Chinese-run mines in Zambia’s copper belt they must work for two years before they get safety helmets. Ventilation below ground is poor and deadly accidents occur almost daily. To avoid censure, Chinese managers bribe union bosses and take them on “study tours” to massage parlours in China. Obstructionist shop stewards are sacked and workers who assemble in groups are violently dispersed. When cases end up in court, witnesses are intimidated.
    http://www.economist.com/node/18586448

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  46. hj (6,991 comments) says:

    Rod Oram on Crafar
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon

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