Another evil foreign land owner

August 7th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The ODT reports:

More than 50,000ha of high country between Lake Wanaka and Queenstown will be protected in the largest conservation undertaking on private land in New Zealand’s history. 

In an agreement between the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust and a company linked with millionaire record producer Robert ”Mutt” Lange, most of Motatapu, Mount Soho, Glencoe and Coronet Peak stations will be placed under protective covenants, effectively New Zealand’s first national park in private hands.

I expect Labour to condemn this as a privatisation or something equally stupid.

The four stations, which are leased in perpetuity by Soho Properties Ltd, cover 53,000ha of land – equal in size to the combined areas of Paparoa and Abel Tasman national parks.

Now that’s a reasonable size.

Soho Properties lawyer Willy Sussman said he had been ”at pains” to explain to Mr Lange the magnitude of what he was agreeing to.

”I was almost labouring the point – I asked him ‘do you understand what this means?”

”His reply was just one word – ‘absolutely’.”

As well as being a ”musical genius”, his Switzerland-based client was an unconventional and far-sighted thinker who wanted to ”make a positive difference to the world”.

If Labour and the Greens had their way, Mr Lange would never have been allowed to buy that land, and hence not able to place it in the public domain. This is a good example of how stupid their policies are.

Not all in land is good or bad. That is why applications should be decided on a case by case basis, with the test being whether it delivers a net boost to New Zealand. Labour and Greens want to get rid of that test, and have a total ban. This story is a another good reason to stop them gaining power.

3 News reports:

The sale of Lochinver Station now hangs in the balance after an election promise from Labour Party leader David Cunliffe today.

Mr Cunliffe says if elected Labour would use powers under the law to block its sale to a Chinese company.

Lochinver Station is being sold to Shanghai Pengxin in a $70 million deal. But that now depends on the result of the election.

The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) still needs to decide whether to approve it, with Government ministers signing that off. Mr Cunliffe has already made his decision: Labour would block it.

“He’s effectively in a dangerous position here, pre-judging the decision, and that could be reviewed by the courts,” says Prime Minister John Key.

“Absolutely the Government would almost certainly be open to legal action if they pre-judge the decision made by the OIO without knowing facts.”

This is beyond pathethic. Labour know nothing at all about the proposal, and how many jobs it may create, or extra export income for NZ. The only thing they know is that the buyer is a Chinese company, and that is enough for their xenophobic kneejerk reaction. It’s one thing to say no, after you consider a case on its merits. But Labour are pandering to blatant racism.

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72 Responses to “Another evil foreign land owner”

  1. mjw (396 comments) says:

    I don’t understand why the details are being kept secret, along with dozens of other purchases. Secret land deals seem un-kiwi to me.

    [DPF: It's not secret. The OIO release the details when they make their recommendation]

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  2. Morgy (172 comments) says:

    Is it secrecy Mjw or due process? This need to know everything about everything right now is the reason we have such ignorance in the electorate. I’ve been driving a lot this week so listened to a bit of talkback and the ‘outrage’ over Lochinver on Plunket’s show is being whipped up by the host. Not once can I recall him bringing facts to the table. For example……FACT: Lochinver has not been sold!!!!!

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  3. Nostradamus (3,344 comments) says:

    Good grief – it’s one thing for Labour to talk about their foreign investment policy in general terms; it’s quite another thing to talk about a specific investment proposal (Lochinver Station). The lawyers acting for Shanghai Pengxin will waste no time in sharpening their judicial review pencils (just in case).

    Labour’s full policy is here. The first point to note is that Labour seem to be in two minds over what to call their policy. The full policy is described as an “Overseas Purchases Policy”, but the policy summary is described as an “overseas speculation policy”.

    Labour’s policy summary is here:

    New Zealanders have a natural desire to control our own country for the benefit of New Zealanders.

    It is the right of New Zealand citizens and permanent residents to purchase and own New Zealand land and assets. Reserving significant New Zealand land and assets for New Zealanders is in the interests of us all.

    Labour will:

    •clamp down on the sale of rural land to foreign buyers by limiting the discretion of the Minister to approve sales,
    •restrict the purchase of residential property by non-residents, so that they will only be granted permission to purchase a residential property if they intend to live here permanently or that purchase adds to our existing housing stock, e.g. building a new house,
    •not allow infrastructure with monopoly characteristics to be sold to overseas interest.

    David Parker, in a press release issued on Monday, went much further:

    In all but the rarest of cases, sales of rural land to overseas buyers will be banned. Non-resident investors will also be banned from buying existing Kiwi homes.

    “Labour will reverse the current approach so that overseas buyers of rural land will have to prove they will create more jobs and exports than any New Zealand investor. Given New Zealanders are among the best farmers in the world it is an extremely hard hurdle to get over.

    “This will ensure our farms are not priced out of the reach of New Zealanders.

    That’s seriously scary stuff…

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  4. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    I still run the arguement that the ability for foreign nationals to by NZ farm land must not only be related to the economic benefit that it brings to NZ but also to having the reciprocal right for NZ nationals to by farm land in the investors country of origin. I do not have an objection to foreign investment however I dont see that right being available to New Zealanders in China. As for the 8,000 jobs becuase of a viable land development. That is somewhat of a red herring. If the project is viable there is no shortage of capital being made available for land development in NZ. That part is not totally dependent on the sale of this farm.

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  5. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    As for the Lange gesture it is outstanding. But does not change my point. I can invest in land in Canada and the USA

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  6. mjw (396 comments) says:

    Morgy, it’s not just this one. Here’s what three news say about the OIO:

    “In 2011 it granted 146 sales – 31 were kept secret. Out of 113 the following year, 36 were confidential, while in 2013 40 out of 117 were confidential – that’s a total of 107 foreign buyers whose identities were kept secret.”

    Why are we having secret land sales?

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  7. Morgy (172 comments) says:

    Mjw the issue for me is the emotive word “secret”. 3News may have used that term but is it actually that or confidential? What is the OIO process? I am sure the 31 you talk of were not placed in a category titled “secret”. There must be a reason. I believe our ‘journalists’ should be giving us a full balanced report including the understanding why some would be kept confidential. I am as much in the dark as you are but I err on the side of proper process than skulduggery

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  8. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    Campbell: “We are still a small export nation, we are reliant on trade. How do we not look xenophobic.”

    David Parker: “What National and Steven Joyce are saying (that this is xenophobia) it’s lamost like calling the New Zealand population racist.. If you come and live in NZ sure; that’s the way it used to be up until the 1980’s
    Campbell: “Untill Labour was in government”
    David Parker: “Right. In the 1980’s and 1990’s we made some mistakes in New Zealand and one of them was to deregulate somethings that should have been reserved for your local population. I don’t want a New Zealand sharemilker to be outbid by a wealthy person or company [ratbag of realestate/king rat] from overseas.
    http://www.3news.co.nz/Should-foreigners-be-allowed-to-buy-New-Zealand-land/tabid/817/articleID/355583/Default.aspx

    18000 replied to the poll. At the end of the program 94% said No [ninety four percent] and 6% yes.
    That’s: NNNNNNNNNN NNNNNNNNNN NNNNNNNNNN NNNNNNNNNN NNNNNNNNNN
    NNNNNNNNNN NNNNNNNNNN NNNNNNNNNN NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN [The People]
    and
    $$$$$$ [Team National/Realestate and a few "progressives on the internationalist tradition"]

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  9. Redbaiter (9,098 comments) says:

    I don’t unerstand the connection with this deal and any deal with Communist China.

    However I do think that Communist Nick Smith should have been fired many years ago. The damage he has done to this nation’s economy in locking up millions of acres of productive land (and sea) to govt is an act of lunacy.

    That some misguided millionaire, whether he is a NZer or from overseas is following the same idiotic path on a private basis is not in my mind any reason to celebrate.

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  10. Liam Hehir (125 comments) says:

    Just a small termini logical quibble, but the guy is British right? That makes him a Commonwealth citizen and technically not a ‘foreigner’ as such. Not that there’s much in the way of practical legal difference in this country any longer.

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  11. Mobile Michael (452 comments) says:

    Mutt can’t be that smart – he divorced Shania Twain! Seriously, it shows that the nationality of the owner matters less than the actions of the owner. And if Labour appeal to the casual xenophobic voters then it says more about them than anything else.

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  12. NK (1,244 comments) says:

    I’m struggling to recall an election where direct government intervention was being promised so much. Cunliffe has promised it in the sharemarket. Their mates the Greens have promised it in the electricity sector, backed by Labour and the commies in NZ First. And then there is direct intervention in rhe currency and monetary policy. And then there is land sales. The Conservatives are not much better.

    It all makes Muldoon look like Hayek.

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  13. Redbaiter (9,098 comments) says:

    This country needs mining, not feel good eco-religious madness.

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  14. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    02-20-2012 16:43

    The 3 News Reid Research poll asked respondents: “Do you want the rules tightened to make it more difficult for foreigners to buy land if they live overseas?”
    The results showed 76 percent said “Yes” including 69 percent of supporters of Prime Minister John Key’s ruling National Party while 21 percent said “No,” 3 News reported.
    However, the report said that Key responded that New Zealand was a already difficult place for foreigners to buy land.

    http://english.cntv.cn/20120220/118028.shtml

    Tail wagging dog? Property Council?

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  15. Gulag1917 (930 comments) says:

    Wonder if New Zealanders can buy land in China and also wonder if the Chinese are xenophobic?

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  16. Chris2 (766 comments) says:

    Gulag – there was an item about this on Campbell Live last night. In China we are limited to buying a house/apartment only, and as the Communist Government owns all the land, they retain ownership of the land, which you must lease from them.

    Cunliffe took a pounding on Morning Report an hour ago about his stance on foreign land ownership, he was very evasive about whether a Labour Government would prevent Australians from buying land in NZ – it was obvious the interviewer caught him out on this.

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  17. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    Gulag1917 (698 comments) says:
    August 7th, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Wonder if New Zealanders can buy land in China and also wonder if the Chinese are xenophobic?
    …………

    China is very diverse:

    China is composed of 56 ethnic groups. Among them Han Chinese account for 91.59% of the overall Chinese population and the other 55 make up the remaining 8.41% according to the Fifth National Population Census of 2000. As the combined population of these other minorities is far fewer than that of the Han, they form the 55 minorities of China.

    (that’s why we need to play the game too :roll:)

    No one owns land in China, it has to be leased.
    http://www.3news.co.nz/Where-in-the-world-can-Kiwis-buy-land/tabid/817/articleID/355761/Default.aspx

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  18. OneTrack (3,114 comments) says:

    NK – “I’m struggling to recall an election where direct government intervention was being promised so much”

    That’s because Labour have largely completed their internal purge of the moderates ie Jones. Now, they are much further left than they were in the past – a different party completely.

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  19. Gulag1917 (930 comments) says:

    NZ needs to toughen up when it comes to negotiation with overseas interests. Mutual deals should only be allowed e.g. overseas interests can only buy land in NZ if NZ/ers can buy land in their nations. No overseas buildings of worship can be built in NZ unless NZ/ers can build buildings of worship overseas.

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  20. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    We need a magna carta to break the domination of vested interests over the media.

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  21. Yogibear (366 comments) says:

    Tonight on Campbell Live – We expose the evil Swiss investor who is buying up iconic south island high country farms and turning them into unproductive tussockland……………

    We include an interview with David Cunliffe who was instrumental in setting up Fonterra, looking serious

    [cut to soundbyte]

    “The High Country is the future of Dairying and this can only be a Nestle plot that removes potentially highly productive dairy land from the NZ economy.”

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  22. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    Gulag1917
    and immigration from countries where there is a flow both ways. I don’t see a mad rush of Kiwis wanting to emigrate to China.

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  23. Albert_Ross (298 comments) says:

    People who think Chinese people should only be allowed to buy land here to the extent that New Zealanders are allowed to buy land in China. Do you also think Americans should only be allowed to buy land here to the extent that New Zealanders are allowed to buy land in the US; that British people should only be allowed to buy land here to the extent that New Zealanders are allowed to buy land in the UK; that Croatian people should only be allowed to buy land here to the extent that New Zealanders are allowed to buy land in Croatia, etc? In other words, that the Overseas Investment Office should be required to be fully familiar and up to date with the land purchase laws in every country in the world, and able to apply them on a case by case basis?

    Seriously?

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  24. mjw (396 comments) says:

    Morgy – I go by the principle that secrecy in government is the enemy of democracy. History has verified that. Calling it ‘due process’ implies some appropriate reasons and principles. What are they then? The only one I can see is that the government doesn’t think we can be trusted with the facts. Un-kiwi, in my book.

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  25. Gulag1917 (930 comments) says:

    Albert – principle of exchange not extent.

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  26. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    The problem of whether NZ should ban Australians for buying or not doesn’t sound too hard. Australia’s problem with immigration is that we are a leaky country: they see us as a back door.

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  27. James Stephenson (2,191 comments) says:

    It’s a great thing that Lange has done, but is it enough to atone for Def Leppard?

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  28. 3-coil (1,220 comments) says:

    Will the Labour leader (literally) put his money where his mouth is? Show us Cunliffe that you have put a caveat on your own multi-million dollar Herne Bay mansion, permanently banning its future sale to Chinese buyers.

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  29. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    NZers cannot buy land in Canberra. Australians should not be allowed to buy land in Wellington. Oh the humanity!

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  30. JC (958 comments) says:

    Secrecy in some foreign land deals here is an obvious must. As we saw from the IMP flag burning and antisemitism re Israel the other day we know that any Jew buying land here would be in serious physical and mental danger from our patriots. Same goes for anyone identified as Asian.. they would have serious doubts about their safety if they were publicly identified.

    Any Yank could be in trouble from the US haters and of course as any Indian setting up a shop would know the death rate from knife attack is extraordinarily high from our patriotic teens in Auckland.

    In fact, the only foreigners who can afford to have their names and addresses known are those rich enough to buy protection and/or those who don’t intend to live here.

    New Zealanders are very patriotic and want to ensure that only whites and Maori live here in this unspoiled part of Paradise and have formed several political parties to ensure that general rule is enforced. Foreigners understand this and all they ask the OIO to do is judge their applications fairly, but please not to identify them just yet until they have paid the required poll taxes and bribes to get on side with their neighbours.

    All perfectly logical.

    JC

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  31. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    So here we go again on foreign land sales. Part of the reason we have a representative democracy rather than a direct democracy is because people’s first instincts are often wrong, particularly on complex matters. So instead of expecting people to know everything about everything, we have them elect people that they trust, and then those people learn everything about everything and make decisions. I think people’s first instincts here are wrong.

    I think people are mixing up lots of things, many of which have nothing in common:
    1. China might direct all produce from the farms to China, to NZ’s detriment. Firstly, many NZ producers would love to have markets in China, this is a profit opportunity. Secondly, NZ can at any time pass laws on our food security if we want to, and China won’t get to vote. For example, we could reinstitute producer boards, and then all NZ-based farms would be obliged to sell via those producer boards.

    2. China might stop us doing xyz on the land – where xyz is tramping, mountain biking, or some other recreational activity. They can’t, NZ can at any time pass laws to do as we wish with that land or put restrictions on that land. The UK has right to roam laws, NZ could choose to do the same (although probably not discriminatory ones that only applied to Chinese owners). As others have noted, we often get better public access covenants in foreign sales than local ones.

    3. They will employ dirty foreigners to work on the land. Newsflash, people already do this, including NZ farmers. Because too many locals don’t like hard work (more accurately, hard work with shitty hours for low wages, but you get the idea). This is nothing to do with land sales, it has to do with immigration and work visa rules.

    4. They will send all profits offshore. Well, yes, that’s the point. But in return, they’ll give the person they bought the land off lots of money, and that person will buy something else, and the profits from that something else end up in NZ. In order for everything to balance with the foreign exchange, sooner or later NZers end up owning something overseas. If your argument is that Chinese are smart and NZers are dumb, so the Chinese will end up making more profits than whatever the NZers bought instead….well, I’m pretty sure that’s not a reason for regulation. (And my personal view is almost the opposite, it’s well known that the Chinese are accepting very low returns on real assets because they’re paranoid about the Chinese govt appropriating their China resident money – so it’s more likely that NZers will get paid over the odds for their land and make more money in whatever they invest in instead. Sounds like a win-win to me)

    5. They will fail to meet environmental standards / some other standards that good honest NZers would never do. Yeah, like the Crafar farms, which were a model operation before being sold. The reality is that corporate farmers are much more likely to meet environmental standards than small farmers – sure, most farmers meet the standards, but I’ll bet you the dodgy ones are disproportionately small operations who get into trouble and “cut corners”.

    6. With all I’ve said above, if we exercised any of those rights, sovereign risk. Yes, and I wouldn’t recommend exercising those options, but the fact remains we could. If we block land sales, that’s also sovereign risk. So we could have real sovereign risk right now, that pisses off one of our largest trading partners (as compared to them investing here and opening new markets to make us wealthy). Or we could reserve our right to have sovereign risk at some time in the future, if and only if it proves necessary. Kinda obvious which way we’d go?

    7. But the Chinese have nukes / massive army / are belligerent. Yes, all true. And that is a global concern, and NZ over the last 20+ years has acted as if it isn’t, including shitting on some of our biggest alliances, and pretending that we don’t need to invest in defence. Seriously, now is not the time to start worrying about China, that was some time ago. The Australians have known this for years, that’s why their force posture is all geared to China, and why they want submarines with enough range to get to China and enough stealth to keep the Chinese scared. Plausible deterrence. NZ of course hasn’t decided to maintain the relationships where someone would do those things for us if we were threatened, and hasn’t invested in any capability of our own. If this is our real worry, then how about investing in serious hardware of our own, perhaps stationed in Australia and jointly managed (we could never go it on our own). An air warfare destroyer, or a submarine. Better still a few jet fighters, but seems probably too late for that one.

    In short, I don’t think any of the arguments stand up to serious scrutiny, notwithstanding that 94% of NZers when asked in the street without thinking for more than 5 seconds would say “no, don’t do that”. (And that’s another reason not to have binding referendums)

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  32. Ross12 (1,432 comments) says:

    I see they are dragging out the argument that young guys cannot get into dairy farming because of the cost. It has always been hard !! But despite the high cost of land today there was a study out recently that said it was easier to repay a farm mortgage today than it was in the 60s & 70s ( yes , I had to read it twice to ensure I had it right). So yes it is hard but it is no harder than it used to be.

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  33. Yogibear (366 comments) says:

    [Interrupts the comments section to head back to Campbell Live editorial meeting]

    JC: Right guys, this foreign ownership thing has got legs. The self-selecting poll of those who can stomach my views played very well for us. But we need to show we are balanced and not just anti-Chinese as sooner or later I’m going to “do a Clarkson” on air, and we all know that if Paul Henry can’t get away with that kind of stuff no one can.

    So who has a non-chinese foreign ownership story for me.

    Wizened old producer: Well John, one of our interns has been researching a story about an American called Bill Foley. It seems this guy has been buying up huge chunks of the Wairarapa.

    He’s bought the iconic Wharekahu Lodge.

    He’s also been buying up vineyards set up by mum and dad kiwi investors with a dream of being first generation winegrowers. I’ve heard some of these mums and dads are former public servants who spent their redunancy cheques buying these wineries.

    JC: This is excellent! Great Narrative! Because he’s an american we can tangentially link my spy stories as well as sock it to JK for continuing to persecute the public service even after they’s left his grip.

    Marvelous!!!!!!!!

    Researching Intern: I’ve got the story ready to go Mr Campbell. Its great. We can do a full programme, including how Foley is turning the Wairarapa wine industry around from being underproductive and over valued into a genuine export force. We can talk about how Foley bought these wineries that were in deep financial trouble when no one else would touch them, bailing out the mum and dad owners.

    We’ve got great interviews with workers talking about how Mr Foley’s investment has given them job security.

    We’ve got investor stories about Foley’s listing on the NZX and how he is opening up ownership to the wine industry to everyone in NZ, not just those with the equity to buy land.

    JC: Right, its selttled then, 2 segments of the programme on the Foley story focusing on disenfranchisement, dispossession and the evils of foreign ownership of our flagship wine industry and the last segment has me visiting the SPCA in my Mazda and cuddling some kittens.

    [turns to the Intern]: In future, leave the editorial stuff to the people who know what they are doing, now go fetch me a bottle of the TeKararnga Pinot

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  34. Rick Rowling (813 comments) says:

    So foreigners buying farms = bad

    Foreigners buying political parties & trying to buy a change in government = good?

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  35. dime (9,980 comments) says:

    Mutt Lange is a legend. A supreme talent.

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  36. James Stephenson (2,191 comments) says:

    Yeah dime, but even Pele blazed them into row Z occasionally :D

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  37. itstricky (1,851 comments) says:

    It’s a great thing that Lange has done, but is it enough to atone for Def Leppard?

    Should the title.of this post be ‘Hysteria’?

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  38. Akld Commercial Lawyer (165 comments) says:

    Putting to one side my cynicism about the manner in which this has been raised – after all opposition parties are there to oppose (particularly at election time) – this is another hallmark of lazy reportage by the MSM.

    5 or 10 mins spent trawling the OIO website gives the reader a clear steer on why applications are confidential, what parts of the process remain confidential and those which do not either as a result of the release of a decision sheet or through the Official Information Act and even the criteria applied when evaluating applications. The OIO has even published a counterfactual analysis required for the “benefit to New Zealand criteria” for investments in sensitive land. But this would require some footwork by the MSM – too hard.

    What I would enjoy seeing is some analysis on why this application will be likely to be approved based on all of the known criteria and recent decisions. It shouldn’t take long, large (trophy) farm unlikely to cover cost of capital in current format, the likely capital cost of conversion to dairying, at least on the low areas close to the Napier Taupo Road, synergies with the Crafar / Miraka arrangements for processing milk and fast-track access to the Chinese market.

    From where I sit, it is likely to be one of the more logical cases of benefit to NZ – by contrast to a laundry list of others that could have been picked.

    Its only achilles heel is that it comes during the election season (and gives Colin Craig, Winston and now Labour) some electoral oxygen – when they appeared to be getting very little.

    And no surprises, the polling for people who say they are opposed to selling off farm land to overseas buyers is broadly in line with that in Oz.

    If there is a downside, it is that in the 2 mins each day that the MSM spend doing anything vaguely resembling hard analysis – they will miss potting the spotlight on Internet Mana, by far the greatest swindle of this election.

    Sad

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  39. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    So here we go again on foreign land sales. Part of the reason we have a representative democracy rather than a direct democracy is because people’s first instincts are often wrong, particularly on complex matters.
    ….
    So the 6% are right and the 94% are wrong?
    I think that needs discussion before you assume a right to represent the 94%.

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  40. s.russell (1,642 comments) says:

    I wonder what the impact of all this will be on the voting pattern of Chinese-New Zealanders?

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  41. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    @hj: in my opinion yes. Where did you come down on the smacking petition? And I did give some real discussion, as opposed to just being someone who says “+1, I hate those dirty Chinese too. Did you know they eat dogs.”

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  42. dime (9,980 comments) says:

    “It’s a great thing that Lange has done, but is it enough to atone for Def Leppard?”

    :O :O :O Hysteria was an amazing album for its time.

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  43. EAD (1,128 comments) says:

    There are quite a few half truths being told here to make us believe we must “blatantly racist” if we oppose selling land to foreign communist government proxy companies.

    #1 – the author claims it will bring export earning for NZ. No it won’t, it will bring export earnings for the owners of the farm. Note these earnings are already being earned in any case.
    #2 – it is blatantly misrepresentation to somehow imply that carving a piece of land off to gift into trust is the typical action of those who acquire NZ land. Are the Chinese shell company spending all this $$$$ to give it back to the country? Like fun.

    Also does John Key stand by his statement from 2010 that he is worried we will become serfs in our own land?

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  44. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    @EAD: let’s check your argument:
    The earnings are already being earned. No, the plan here is that the Chinese invest to increase earnings. NZs net exports increase in this scenario.

    It will bring export earnings for the owners. So, three things. Assume the farm sells for $50M.

    Firstly, the current (NZ) owners will now have $50M that they will invest. Whatever they invest in is something that they believe will earn a better return than continuing to own the farm (else they wouldn’t do it). So “NZers” are making more profit than if the farm wasn’t sold.

    Secondly, the foreign exchange. In order for Chinese to have NZ money, they have to buy it. Someone has to sell NZ money. So, everything else being equal, someone in NZ now owns something from overseas, which potentially means NZers are getting returns from offshore. Is that equally as bad as foreigners getting returns from NZ?

    Thirdly, there is more economic activity in NZ than before. The Chinese invested, which creates economic activity as they do whatever improvements they planned – they use bulldozers and workers and whomever. The farm is producing more after the investment, so NZ has more exports. Some of that money goes in profits to the owners, but more revenue usually means more expenses, and expenses means largely goods and services purchased in NZ. More jobs in NZ. And remember still there’s that $50M that the previous owner got, which hasn’t just disappeared, that’s some other entirely new investment that’s also creating jobs.

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  45. Albert_Ross (298 comments) says:

    EAD #1: practically all export earnings are in fact earnings of a private company or individual. You individually, as a New Zealand citizen, benefit when a foreigner earns money as a result of exporting from New Zealand to precisely the same extent as you individually, as a New Zealand citizen, benefit when a New Zealander earns money as a result of exporting from New Zealand.
    #2: it is also blatant misrepresentation to somehow imply that environmental and economic destruction of the host country is the typical intention of foreigners (but not locals) who buy land in New Zealand

    Also do you stand by everything you said in 2010? Or have you perhaps learned something in the last four years?

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  46. EAD (1,128 comments) says:

    Who taught you guys economics?

    The national party press office?

    Your bogus economics aside, is it OK for a north Korean government proxy company to buy up NZ farms? Is there a limit on how much should sell? Should we sell all our land to the Chinese govt?

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  47. Tinshed (170 comments) says:

    I wonder what the impact of all this will be on the voting pattern of Chinese-New Zealanders?

    A very good point. John Key just tweeted this morning “Great to have lots of kids among the 100s from the Chinese community who turned up to hear me speak at a breakfast”. Not only is that smart politics, it is the right thing to do.

    JK can sleep sound at night knowing he has not played to people’s base, racist instincts – unlike DC who, I am sure in his heart of heart’s, knows he is placing the race card. He should be ashamed of himself.

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  48. anticorruptionnz (215 comments) says:

    The Real issue is who are these companies are they what they claim to be. Soho property is registered in Gibraltar. According open corproates there are a number of companies called Soho property. there is no requiremnt ( at least back then ) to provide evidence of incorporation.

    A response was received from the solicitor for the registrar and is posted on my site http://www.anticorruption.co.nz/2014/08/05/new-zealand-companies-abused-world-wide-is-money-laundering-behind-it/

    he said the registrar accepts at face value information which is provided.

    Does that not make NZ a sitting duck for corruption. that is one of the practices we have in place to protect our company register integrity… we accept by face value.

    When I looked at Shanghai Pengxin I found that the land purchases were based on a fictional company

    NO ONE CHECKS NO ONE CARES THAT IS WHY THERE IS NO CORRUPTION IN NZ

    http://www.anticorruption.co.nz/2014/08/02/fictional-company-ultimately-owns-large-chunk-of-nz/

    Grace Haden Independent for Epsom

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  49. EAD (1,128 comments) says:

    IGNORE THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

    We are selling to a communist government controlled entity. Stop defending the indefensible just because John Key says it’s OK

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  50. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    @anticorruptionNZ, and @EAD: it doesn’t matter who they are. They have to abide by the laws of NZ. NZ doesn’t have a law saying “anybody can buy property except if a majority of NZers don’t happen to like them.” It has a law saying anybody can buy property.

    Unless there are international sanctions in place that put that organisation on the persona non grata list, then people and companies can buy land (subject to review for foreign investments). That’s because it doesn’t matter what colour their skin is or what their politics are. They have to abide by the laws of NZ, they have to pay tax on any profits. That’s it. The government only gets income from this by the taxes, and the taxes apply irrespective of your domicile.

    If the argument is that we don’t want foreigners making profits in NZ, then that doesn’t apply to farmland, it applies to all foreign investment. I think you should ask a real economist what would happen if NZ decided it didn’t want foreign investment.

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  51. Tinshed (170 comments) says:

    We are selling to a communist government controlled entity. Stop defending the indefensible just because John Key says it’s OK

    Damn, let’s stop Fonterra selling all that milk powder then. That’ll work out well for us all, I’m sure.

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  52. anticorruptionnz (215 comments) says:

    PaulL It does matter who they are . if you dont know who they are then they are immune from our laws. you cannot prosecute an unknown

    When I was in the police many years ago an application made on false hood was called fraud. it would appear that now days its not fraud if you have a sufficiently large bank account .

    operative word is “anybody” fictions dont have bodies and are not anybody or a body . to be a ” body or body corporate there need to be identifiable components i.e ultimately real people

    mean while back in the suburbs Mary is locked up for pinching a loaf of bread to feed her kids .

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  53. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    Tinshed (85 comments) says:
    John Key just tweeted this morning “Great to have lots of kids among the 100s from the Chinese community who turned up to hear me speak at a breakfast”. Not only is that smart politics, it is the right thing to do.
    …….
    10. Long-term effects of mass migration – ethnic replacement.
    In the end, any level of net immigration into a country with below-replacement fertility will
    eventually replace the original population with one of immigrant origin. Even with the United
    States’ high fertility, white non-Hispanics are officially projected to become the minority
    shortly after 2050. Populations of immigrant origin of about 30% of the national total and
    rising are projected before that date in Denmark and in Germany. How far this ethnic
    replacement is thought to be a problem must reside with the electorates concerned.
    But on
    present trends that is the indicated outcome, and much sooner for some major cities with large
    immigrant settlement.
    International Union for the Scientific Study of Population.
    XXIV General Population Conference, Salvador da Bahia, Brazil
    Plenary Debate no 4. Friday 24 August 2001

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  54. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    Farm purchase fears part of wider investment debate: NZ farmers head
    2014-08-05 17:06 Xinhua

    Opposition to the planned sale hardened after Prime Minister John Key said Monday that he was happy for the sale to go ahead so long as it went through the proper process and was approved by the OIO.

    Some in the farming sector worry that Shanghai Pengxin’s plans for vertical integration the control of dairy production from farm through to processing could leave New Zealand as “just a backdrop” for a fully foreign-owned and run industry.

    They have compared the dairy sector to New Zealand’s forestry sector, which has largely been taken over by foreign interests, resulting in the loss of local wood processing businesses and jobs as the logs are exported unprocessed.

    Rolleston said if the government kept a register of land held by overseas interests, it might take “the political sting out of the argument” as it could show how much land had been returned to New Zealand ownership or whether the overseas owners had taken residency in the country.

    “We need to have a debate about what is in the best interests of New Zealand and what the level of foreign ownership should be. A lot of New Zealanders might not be too concerned if the level was 5 percent in foreign ownership, but they might be very concerned if the figure was 95 percent.”

    An online advertisement by selling agent Bayleys said Lochinver Station was valued at 70.6 million NZ dollars (60.17 million U.S. dollars), “placing it at the top of the most highly valued stations in the country.”

    The Lochinver deal would be the third major purchase by Shanghai Pengxin to draw opposition in the last three years.

    In October last year, Shanghai Pengxin Group announced it was looking to take over South Island-based Synlait Farms Ltd., of which it already owns 74 percent through New Zealand Standard Farm, a subsidiary of its Milk New Zealand unit, prompting Federated Farmers to express concern over vertical integration then too.

    Shanghai Pengxin bought 16 North Island dairy farms for 200 million NZ dollars (170.31 million U.S. dollars) in 2012 after a controversial and long legal battle through the New Zealand courts, which resulted in changes to the way the OIO had to assess land purchases by foreign interests.

    http://www.ecns.cn/business/2014/08-05/127954.shtml

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  55. backster (2,174 comments) says:

    So Cunliffe is prepared to rule out the cre-ation of 8000 jobs in South Auckland and leave the owners of the station with a farm they no longer want and can’t sell at an economic price. But for the input and industry of the owners the land would still be a desolate low productive area employing a fraction of those it does today. Labour and the Greens though want New Zealand that way.

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  56. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    @anticorruptionNZ: if you can’t find the owners you confiscate the land. What exact laws do you think their NZ employees will break?

    @hj: that’s an argument for a producer board, not an argument for preventing foreign investment. If there’s more profit for farmers in sending raw product offshore than processing it in NZ, then NZ farmers will do that just as much as Chinese ones. Of course, we could look at why it’s cheaper to process offshore than in NZ, but that might involve taking a hard look at ourselves. You can’t stop globalisation, which is really what you’re arguing against.

    Do you have any coherent arguments about why it matters who owns the land?

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  57. Peter (1,713 comments) says:

    Back In Black. Mutt Lange.

    The guy is a production genius, whether you care for the music or not. That recording still sounds huge, and it was done without the benefit of digital ease and manipulation.

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  58. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    I actually see Hysteria as one of the great albums too. There is a great classic albums episode on it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkfopuQoXwk. I’m particularly a fan of the bit where he demonstrates how they ripped off message in a bottle, with a twist.

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  59. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    PaulL (5,896 comments) says:
    August 7th, 2014 at 11:36 am

    @hj: that’s an argument for a producer board, not an argument for preventing foreign investment. If there’s more profit for farmers in sending raw product offshore than processing it in NZ, then NZ farmers will do that just as much as Chinese ones. Of course, we could look at why it’s cheaper to process offshore than in NZ, but that might involve taking a hard look at ourselves. You can’t stop globalisation, which is really what you’re arguing against.
    ……….
    So you are saying vertical integration doesn’t matter? How about the need for employment and keeping as much profit in NZ as possible?

    Do you have any coherent arguments about why it matters who owns the land?

    David Parker: “Right. In the 1980′s and 1990′s we made some mistakes in New Zealand and one of them was to deregulate somethings that should have been reserved for your local population. I don’t want a New Zealand share milker to be outbid by a wealthy person or company from overseas.

    In the Lochinver case they are saying: this will free up capital and it will be spent on a project that will create 8000 jobs, but they are talking development (needed to take care of population growth – immigration) not something in the tradeables sector.

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  60. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    A commenter on Nine to Noon suggested that the Chinese have stocked up on milk powder so they can influence the price. When the price falls the farmland becomes cheaper.

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  61. JC (958 comments) says:

    “They have compared the dairy sector to New Zealand’s forestry sector, which has largely been taken over by foreign interests, resulting in the loss of local wood processing businesses and jobs as the logs are exported unprocessed.”

    Thirty years ago NZers owned just about the lot but showed little interest in the processing side of the industry. So we brought in foreign capital to build the mills and sold them forests to feed the mills.

    NZers then did what they were most comfortable with.. they planted, managed and sold the trees to the mills or directly to the export markets to get the best prices.

    Currently the situation is roughly a total of 1.7 million hectares of exotic forest with NZers owning outright about 780,000 ha and the rest in the big companies where thousands of NZers have shares.. so still really majority owned onshore. We also continue to own outright about 60% of the land under the trees.

    Those awful log exports.. $1.6 billion
    Those nice forest products exports.. $4.5 billion

    In 1980 Kaingaroa pulp logs sold for $1 per tonne and sawlogs for $5-8 per tonne net. Recently (April) pulp was about $8 per tonne and sawlogs about $80 per tonne net. If we had stuck with the NZ ownership patterns and strategies of 1980 that $1 per tonne of pulp would have grown to $4.80 this year instead of the actual $8 and the sawlog price to $36 instead of the recent $80 (using the Reserve Bank Inflation Calculator).

    In other words NZ spread its ownership, brought in more expertise and access to markets and improved its basic position.

    As for doing more processing, a client asked me to look into this for him.. a world class sawmill would have a throughput of about a million tonnes of logs per year and employ about 30 people.. we simply don’t have access to a million tonnes of logs per year in every forest growing locality so we can’t match the international scale and if we had international manning of 30 people only it would take Labour and the Greens just a nanosecond to introduce laws requiring a minimum of 300 people per large mill with the taxpayer picking up the tab for 270 of them!

    Basically we have to muddle along with our processing much like it is and keep adding automation to reduce manpower.. but we aren’t going to replace log exports any time soon.

    JC

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  62. Paulus (2,632 comments) says:

    Of course Labour and the Greens could build low cost houses on the Lochinver Station for South Auckland families.

    Or the Maori can say it belongs to them, like everything else, and under a Waitangi tribunal hearing, they want to let it grow into a Gorse farm like Raglan Golf Course.

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  63. anticorruptionnz (215 comments) says:

    @ Pauil

    The land is owned by a company which at this present time is considered a legal person.

    It is the process of creating that person which is in question

    We have become so creative with company and trust structures that anything goes .

    If your creditor had their home in such a structure and you could not recover any funds from them then you would think it unfair.

    so if the Chinese can do it why cant the rest of us. When corruption rules Integrity is absent.

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  64. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    Penny, that would be true if it were a shell company with no assets. In this case, there’s a NZ based company with offshore ownership, and that NZ company will have a pretty substantial asset. There should be no issue with them disappearing and leaving people out of pocket – there’s a $50M farm to seize in any bankruptcy. I think you’re drawing too long a bow. The reason the owners are mysterious is most likely because a lot of the money is corruptly acquired in China by people close to the regime. These days having lots of money in China can get you prosecuted and executed, so surprise surprise the ownership is opaque. The question is what problem exactly that causes for us.

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  65. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    @hj, I’m not sure pasting things from other people is a coherent argument. But let’s deal with them too.

    1. No, I’m not saying vertical integration doesn’t matter. My personal opinion is that IF vertical integration were to matter, that would be something that would rightly concern the owners of the land / the farmers, and nobody else. But IF vertical integration were to matter, then the correct answer wouldn’t be to forbid the Chinese from creating vertically integrated businesses, but leave NZers, Australians and anyone else happily vertically integrating with Chinese processing companies. IF it were something we cared about, we’d simply restore Fonterra’s monopoly, and it would apply to both NZ-owned farms and Chinese owned farms. In short, IF the argument is that we need to enforce vertical integration to create jobs for NZers, then there’s no reason to only apply that to foreign owned farms.

    2. A quote from David Parker as thinking something isn’t an argument, unless you’re engaging in a call to authority. IF that were what you were doing, then I would point out that David Parker is a fuck-knuckle, and that him believing something makes it more likely to be wrong. In terms of his point, I don’t see why he’s fine to stop a NZ sharemilker being outbid for a farm, but fails to mention that the (now retiring) former sharemilker who previously owned it has had to accept a lower price to enable that. IF we want to help poor sharemilkers, then the way to do it is through the taxpayer, not through a levy applied behind the scenes on retiring farmers.

    Do you have any actual arguments, or are we still just upset that the Chinese eat dogs?

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  66. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    “” Albert_Ross (254 comments) says:
    August 7th, 2014 at 8:31 am
    People who think Chinese people should only be allowed to buy land here to the extent that New Zealanders are allowed to buy land in China. Do you also think Americans should only be allowed to buy land here to the extent that New Zealanders are allowed to buy land in the US; that British people should only be allowed to buy land here to the extent that New Zealanders are allowed to buy land in the UK; that Croatian people should only be allowed to buy land here to the extent that New Zealanders are allowed to buy land in Croatia, etc? In other words, that the Overseas Investment Office should be required to be fully familiar and up to date with the land purchase laws in every country in the world, and able to apply them on a case by case basis?

    Seriously?

    Of course fucking seriously. You are telling me that our bureaucrats are so incompetent that they cant determine something that simple FFS. The information should be supplied by the applicant as per normal and verified by the civil servant, surely that concept is not too difficult even for our bureacrats.

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  67. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    EAD (676 comments) says:
    August 7th, 2014 at 10:34 am
    IGNORE THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

    We are selling to a communist government controlled entity. Stop defending the indefensible just because John Key says it’s OK

    Well said. These people who are suddenly keen to sell New Zealand up the river because they sense a buck or two in it, are on other threads calling lefties ‘communists and socialists’ – as if it is a bad thing. It can’t be bad when they are supporting communist influence in a large chunk of land here.

    Double standards – the things they will do for a buck, and stuff the next generations. Why should John Key care – he’s not even a second generation Kiwi.

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  68. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    @Judith: was that a joke or parody, or did you seriously just say that:

    Why should John Key care – he’s not even a second generation Kiwi.

    @Mark: again, NZers cannot buy land in Canberra. So you argument would be that nobody from Canberra should be allowed to buy land in NZ? Or are you only really applying your rule to the Chinese, because they’re the only place you happen to be aware of in which the govt owns all the land. Surely our bureaucrats are competent to work out if someone lives in the ACT?

    You do of course realise that the reason economists provide for allowing others to invest in NZ isn’t one of reciprocity? It’s because it’s on its own a good thing for our economy. If they’re too dumb to do things that are good for their economy, it doesn’t mean that we should do the same. When your neighbour buys a Jeep you should think “what a muppet, that’ll be costing him an arm and a leg in maintenance”, not “OMG, he’s wasting his money, I better run out and waste my money too to get back at him”.

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  69. Gulag1917 (930 comments) says:

    hj
    “Australia’s problem with immigration is that we are a leaky country: they see us as a back door.”
    Solution; make NZ immigration criteria the same as Australia.

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  70. anticorruptionnz (215 comments) says:

    PaulL

    I am Grace Not Penny

    you would have to be pretty naive to think that you would actually be successful in suing a company which does not exist even if you think that you know who they are .

    this is more than a shell company this is fictitious company. what part of IT DOES NOT EXIST do you not understand.

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  71. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    Grace, you appear dimmer than Penny!!

    You assert there is a company, then you assert there isn’t. There actually is, as you say, a shell company. That company has a number of very large assets – the farms – so it absolutely does exist. You can very much sue that company, and if it disappears it cannot take the land with it. If we (being the govt of NZ) decided to we could easily expropriate that land from them (presuming that whatever they had done required such action).

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  72. anticorruptionnz (215 comments) says:

    Pauil

    It appears that those who call people dim are those who dont under stand. I will type slowly

    yes there is a company.
    the company owns the assets
    the company which owns the company which owns the assets is a holding company
    the holding company is owned by something which purports to be a company but doesn’t exist.

    anything founded on false hoods cannot stand

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