This is the evil foreign investment the left are against

August 6th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Fisher & Paykel Appliances, the home-appliance maker acquired by China’s Haier in 2012, is seeking some 40 workers for research and development after opening a new design centre at its Auckland headquarters.

The company spent about $5.5 million on the new Auckland facility with another $1.5 million still to be invested, and is spending some $2.5 million to fit out its Dunedin R&D facility. F&P Appliances has hired 80 engineers and designers in the past 18 months. It is now one of Haier’s five global ‘centres of excellent’ for product development in the group.

Haier New Zealand Investment Holding, which holds 80 percent of F&P Appliances, invested $36.3 million on property, plant and equipment in the nine months ended Dec. 31, 2013, and $7.9 million between Aug. 29, 2012 to March 31, 2013, according financial statements lodged with the Companies Office. Its accounts show it had revenue of $777.1 million through the final nine months of 2013.

Haier New Zealand incurred research and development expenses of $17.9 million in the 2013 period, and $7.2 million in the 2012 reporting period. The other 20 percent of F&P Appliances is held by another Haier unit.

The Chinese company effectively rescued F&P Appliances in 2009 when it acquired a 20 percent stake as part of a capital raising that let the company refinance its debt. The local manufacturer got distribution into China as a result of the deal and the ability to further licence its technology.

And who was against this which rescued F&P and has led to more jobs and more R&D? Well TVNZ reported:

The Government is coming under pressure to stop iconic Kiwi appliance maker Fisher and Paykel from falling into Chinese ownership.

Chinese company Haier last week launched a take-over bid for the company but opposition parties say it is the type of innovative company New Zealand cannot afford to lose, and is a further sign of a crisis looming in the country’s manufacturing sector.

“The Government cannot stand aside and watch New Zealand manufacturing ripped out from New Zealand ownership,” said Labour finance spokesperson David Cunliffe.

It is easy to bash foreign investment, especially when it is Chinese. Winston has done it for decades. Labour is joining in. But the reality is that overall foreign investment creates jobs, lifts income, and boosts research and development.

Presumably under Labour, they would have blocked the investment in F&P, which may have collapsed as a company, or at a minimum would not be boosting R&D – as you need investors to do that.

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48 Responses to “This is the evil foreign investment the left are against”

  1. fernglas (171 comments) says:

    The Chinese have recognised what New Zealand is not prepared to admit, and that is that it is cheaper for them to outsource R&D to poorer first world countries such as this than it is to keep it in China. So much for a high value economy. Another 10 years and they will shift manufacturing back here because labour costs will be lower than in China, and we can all be not only tenants in our own country, but peasants in our own economy.

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  2. Viking2 (11,565 comments) says:

    NZ is full of frightened xenophobes and racists.
    Someone might say boo at them causing them to crap their dacks.

    Time we did some big boy growing up as a nation.

    I recall many years ago Bob Jones had been to Russia and was being condemned and vilified in the usual manor.
    As he pointed out then that Russian people were no different to us and and most likely wanted the same things. One of which was not to have to go to war to survive
    So now we have the Germans and the Allies repeating that exercise for about the 5th time..

    We are a nation of the worlds people and its time we recognized that and behaved that way. We are all merely the current custodians of this piece of land.

    And I think its pertinent to point out the last 15 years has seen about half a million of us move on to other places.

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  3. thePeoplesFlag (256 comments) says:

    16,000 peopled on a text poll last night to Campbell Live. 96% opposed selling NZ farms to foreigners. As a committed lefty, I thank David Farrar for keeping this issue in the public spotlight.

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  4. NK (1,257 comments) says:

    It is easy to bash foreign investment, especially when it is Chinese. Winston has done it for decades. Labour is joining in. But the reality is that overall foreign investment creates jobs, lifts income, and boosts research and development.

    Presumably under Labour, they would have blocked the investment in F&P, which may have collapsed as a company, or at a minimum would not be boosting R&D – as you need investors to do that.

    You must have missed Labour and Green policy to spend a billion dollars on R&D through taking money off us via taxes, particularly a Capital Gains Tax, and picking winners from Wellington. And it gets worse, then they intend to take shareholdings in said companies they have “invested” in to ensure there is return on “their” “investment”.

    I kid you not. This is what Red Russell proposes, tacitly backed by Commy Cunliffe.

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  5. burt (8,316 comments) says:

    Think of union membership numbers DPF – It’s better to have no business in NZ than to have employers who are against being sheltered workshops for the fundraising arm of the Labour party.

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  6. Redbaiter (9,603 comments) says:

    Fisher and Paykel were in debt way over their heads and were taken over by the Communist Chinese.

    NZ is in debt way over its head and relies upon the patronage of Communist China to keep it afloat.

    This is where the Progressive National/ Labour govt policies have taken NZ.

    Made us dependent on a country run by thugs and criminals.

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  7. Gulag1917 (1,008 comments) says:

    Bureaucrats in NZ seem to be more interested in helping overseas business interests than some NZ interests.

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  8. EAD (1,316 comments) says:

    Strawman argument DPF-

    There is a big difference between purchasing a luxury goods manufacturing company (lets face it, washing machines etc. are luxury goods for the majority of the world) whose technology was created by an individual/private business, is easily replicable and operates in a competitive market vs. purchasing land which is a “gift from god” (apologies to the non-religious) which can’t be replicated and whose produce is necessary for our very survival.

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  9. mikenmild (11,719 comments) says:

    Reddy would like us to return to the values of the 1950s. Looks like he wants a 1950s-sized economy too.

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  10. adze (2,129 comments) says:

    Yeah, this is a different type of investment. The farming investment is designed for vertical integration to serve the Chinese market. I don’t think it will generate a lot of local opportunities since we already lead the world in dairy expertise.

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  11. Gulag1917 (1,008 comments) says:

    I guess one advantage of selling to the Chinese it reduces the possibility of espionage and reverse engineering.

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  12. chris (647 comments) says:

    16,000 peopled on a text poll last night to Campbell Live. 96% opposed selling NZ farms to foreigners. As a committed lefty, I thank David Farrar for keeping this issue in the public spotlight.

    I bet most of that 96% would be perfectly happy to sell their own house to a foreigner if it was the best offer.

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  13. KiwiGreg (3,259 comments) says:

    I bet most of that 96% dont own a house

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  14. deadrightkev (521 comments) says:

    Our agricultural and innovation expertise can be expanded into countries throughout the world so our growth potential is limitless. The key is retaining the intellectual property value and growing offshore businesses, repatriating more overseas earnings back to NZ than the Chinese or others that operate businesses repatriate back to their countries.

    Singapore has done pretty well now compared to the days when we used to provide them aid hasn’t it?

    I understand where Redbaiter is coming from and normally agree with most of his thinking but there is a limit on this xenophobic thinking.

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  15. freedom101 (509 comments) says:

    Anything that creates more dependency in the economy, and therefore more votes for Labour, will be supported by the left.

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  16. Ross12 (1,454 comments) says:

    NK

    I agree with you on Wellington should not be picking winners.

    But I agree with the Greens idea that if R&D grants are given by Govt. then there should be a pay back of the grant if the company is sold within a set time and I don’t see anything wrong with a Govt. taking a stake in the company in return for the grant/loan so if the company is sold the Govt. gets some of the upside –this would have to be done carefully and may or should involve an exit clause the Govt. after a set time (ie. when it is clear the company is not going to be sold the Govt should be getting out of it).

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  17. Lance (2,714 comments) says:

    There is a shit load of R+D engineers being hired in NZ at the moment.
    Pretty much mostly foreign companies very pleased with high standards of knowledge and work with relatively low wages. Those low wages are circa $100K up.

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  18. iMP (2,422 comments) says:

    Almost comical hearing Socialist mayor and Labour doyenne Lianne Dalziel hail the advantages of asset sales on RNZ yesterday morning to avoid the $900 million deficit the city faces.

    Which of course is WHY we need foreign investment in NZ.

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  19. hj (7,066 comments) says:

    2012 Poll show(ed)s New Zealanders want(ed) tighter rules on foreign ownership of land
    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

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  20. flipper (4,205 comments) says:

    The CminusT position is just a reincarnation of the specious “name on paper” argument over the sale of land. R & D and manufacturing involve intellectual and other property rights. They also can be sold…. or is it now Labour-red melon policy to restrict/ban the sale of intellectual property?

    What CminusT and noddyParker omit to explain is how any nation of 4.5million can maintain its 2014 growth trajectory, while reverting to the 1940-50-60 fortress NZ policies promoted by Sutch and Lewin et al, and legislated for by Fraser, Nash, Nordmeyer et al. In that respect, unusually, I find myself in agreement with Milky.

    CminusT ….. Just nonsense

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  21. hj (7,066 comments) says:

    Federated farmers versus Property Council.

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  22. hj (7,066 comments) says:

    I bet TV3 comes under some heat from some sections of the business community over that poll (94:6)?

    Must be time for the *independent* NZIER to tell us it is good to sell farmland (along with a bigger population through ramping up immigration).

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  23. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    16,000 peopled on a text poll last night to Campbell Live. 96% opposed selling NZ farms to foreigners.

    Those same people are watching TV3, which is owned by foreigners, and is taking advertising revenue off state-owned TVNZ.

    And using their Vodafone mobiles to pay to text this foreign-owned channel about foreign ownership.

    I’m sure these little ironies are lost in the xenophobia.

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  24. Redbaiter (9,603 comments) says:

    “Singapore has done pretty well now compared to the days when we used to provide them aid hasn’t it?”

    Yes, because the voters there are smart enough to reject parties offering policies that would result in the same bankruptcy as NZ faces.

    Singaporeans understand that governments must be prevented from over-spending and putting their country in debt.

    NZers have yet to come to that simple realisation.

    The fact is the NZ govt borrows heavily to keep the socialist delusion alive, and the only way to finance that debt at present is to cuddle up to the Communist gangsters and criminals who rule China.

    Some may see this as a beneficial outcome.

    I am damned sure I don’t.

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  25. Jack5 (5,156 comments) says:

    Not a great example, DPF.

    NZ owned Fisher and Paykel was exactly the sort of export manufacturer NZ needed. Its product was at the top of the market based on its excellent and advanced engineering, and it manufactured in Australia as well as NZ.

    Now missing are the manufacturing jobs that have been lost with Haier’s takeover. Where it once probably employed 1500 or more in Auckland and another 1000 at Mosgiel near Dunedin, its manufacturing jobs are down to probably around 300 in Auckland.

    That’s bad news for the ordinary kids coming out of Auckland schools, especially south Auckland, without the education to be engineering “researchers”. If there are jobs at all for these kids, they will be lower paid, far less secure, and likely part-time. This is the national economic equivalent of sowing dragon’s teeth.

    Was it inevitable? Under NZ’s economic, manufacturing and marketing-law policies, probably yes. But top-of-market whiteware manufacturers have survived and thrived in Germany and Scandinavia.

    I doubt that even with the 40 jobs mentioned, Haier will be providing near as many engineering and research jobs as existed in the Auckland operations at the height of Fisher & Paykel Appliances under NZ ownership. Washing machine research is good engineering, not nuclear physics. Fisher & Paykel when NZ owned was internationally renowned for its engineering features.

    What Haier’s takeover shows, in my view, is the disastrous failure of Western economic policy under the influence of purist economics theory. China, Germany, and even Japan have thrived by the free trade and free market policies of other countries. They have pragmatically and intelligently told the fanatic believers in free market economics they believe in the policies, but have thrived from the fanatic believers’ non-pragmatic implementation of them.

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  26. Jack5 (5,156 comments) says:

    Viking2 posted at 9.09:

    NZ is full of frightened xenophobes and racists.

    About 94 per cent if TV3’s poll is on track, Viking 2.

    Keep loudly branding them xenophobes and racists for a few more weeks, and you might be very sorry.

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  27. daniel carter (34 comments) says:

    You’re not totally wrong about foreign investment, a balance is preferable rather than wholesale sell off. But your example is wrong. F&P’s growth in R&D is a result of many years strategy. Perhaps the new owners brought more money to the table but any new owner would’ve done so no matter where they’re from, because the business proposal was sound. This is nothing to do with the owners being Chinese.

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  28. Lance (2,714 comments) says:

    @Jack5
    NZers want cheap products. Everyone gets a bargain!
    They don’t give a shit about where it’s made until the company is sold then they whine about foreign ownership.

    Some other cultures will pay more for a domestically made product but that is not NZ.

    F+P had no choice.

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  29. Jack5 (5,156 comments) says:

    Lance (11.46):

    If NZ had an intelligent and pragmatic Reserve Bank and currency policy along the lines of Singapore and perhaps Switzerland even Hong Kong (with its currency board), NZ-owned Fisher & Paykel would have had a fighting chance of succeeding.

    Tens of thousands of NZers pay higher prices for top quality German and Scandinavian whiteware, by the way.

    The idea that price is the sole criterion of marketing and industrial success is laughable.

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  30. Lance (2,714 comments) says:

    @Jack5
    Oh come on, you are not that fucking naive to think the ‘German’ appliances are made in Germany?
    And they are cheaper or pushing F+P to the limit to match those low prices- certainly the main-stream products.
    The ridiculously overpriced status symbols would be the exception that only a very few actually purchase.

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  31. Richard (871 comments) says:

    When Watties became Heinz-Watties in 1992 the sky did not fall in. They employ directly 1900, produce thousands more products than they did 1992 and produce not only products for the local market with brands like Craig’s, Farex, Eta, Oak, Good Taste Company, Greenseas, Earth’s Best, Complan, Chef and Champ but also export lines for the parent company. This is a bad thing? No of course not.
    Foreign investment whether its American , Chinese or anyone else is not a illuminati type conspiracy theory to take over the world as some of the more fruit loop kiwi bloggers have been posting here. Its capital being invested to get a long term profitable return and things like farmland don’t always stay with foreign owners- like Lilybank station at Lake Tekapo which is once again owned by Kiwi’s after a being owned by the Indonesian Govt ( son of the former dictator).
    Lastly how successful were the Crafar farms under their former Kiwi owners? Hmmm..not very good I seem to remember. Damaged NZ’s animal welfare reputation in fact as well as running the properties into rack and ruin.

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  32. ShawnLH (5,754 comments) says:

    Anyone who thinks the Chinese government has anything to do with real communism is not playing with a full deck. The Chinese government is authoritarian nationalist.

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  33. Jack5 (5,156 comments) says:

    Lance posted at 12.18:

    You are not that fucking naive to think the ‘German’ appliances are made in Germany?

    Some German brands do have lines made in Asia, but AEG and Bosch still make their top lines in Germany and have cheaper lines made in Asia at at German owned factories with German quality control. Miele manufactures only in Europe, I believe.

    The Asian-cheap, NZ top-of-the-line models would have been a nice strategy for an NZ-owned Fisher and Paykel. I think that was the model they were trying to pursue when they were taken over.

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  34. chris (647 comments) says:

    The NZ made F&P appliances were crap anyway. Fridge seals that fall off, dish drawers that don’t wash properly, and so on.

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  35. Jack5 (5,156 comments) says:

    The PR flakes of the Chinese investors, and their mates in the Beijing faction of the National Party, are busy folk today. If you don’t count them, only 5 per cent of NZ’ers support land sales to foreigners (using the TV3 poll figures). Careful guys, your pro-Red China trumpeting just might tip the election the wrong way!

    ShawnLH posted at 1.23 (not that I’m suggesting you are one of the flakes, Shawn):

    Anyone who thinks the Chinese government has anything to do with real communism is not playing with a full deck. The Chinese government is authoritarian nationalist.

    What rubbish. Read the Foreign Policy article linked to below for an informed view:

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/01/02/5_myths_about_the_chinese_communist_party

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  36. hj (7,066 comments) says:

    a lot of people crying racist and xenophobia are vested interests

    Property Council chief executive Connal Townsend said debate about the future ownership of the 16 Crafar dairy farms appeared to have tapped a racist vein, when the real issue was New Zealand’s willingness to value its own landholdings* and provide certainty to people who can commit capital, generate local employment, and encourage economic growth.
    “The Green Party co-leader, Dr Russel Norman’s reported called for changes to overseas investment rules so foreign interests can only lease New Zealand property sends a terrible message to the global community that this country is off limits to much-needed capital.”
    Mr Norman’s sweeping comments ignored the reality that New Zealand operates in a global capital market and desperately needs investment. “This debate risks damaging this country’s attractiveness to foreign investors across all sectors, including commercial property.
    “The review of the Overseas Investment Act 2005 is an opportunity to de-politicise the process for determining consent applications. Ministerial involvement in investment decisions needs to be limited so that applications for foreign investment can be considered on merit.”
    Property Council argues the Overseas Investment Office needs to be restructured and appropriately resourced so that applications can be considered in a timely manner.
    “Many applicants are left hanging by processing delays that can stretch for months and months. These delays are not fair or efficient,” Mr Townsend said.
    Property Council lobbied for changes to the Act in order to encourage foreign investment, not inhibit it.
    “New Zealand is a multi-ethnic nation that is home to people who have emigrated from all corners of the globe.* Just as we have welcomed migrants such as Dr Norman, we should also continue to welcome global capital that is helping to fuel economic growth and job creation,” Mr Townsend said.

    * nothing to do with policies heavily lobbied by his organisation? Ref Savings Working Group, Treasury, Reserve Bank
    * appeal to tradition fallacy

    A good old harmless bunch of boys. Real estate. Move on Nothing to See.

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  37. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    queenstfarmer says:

    Those same people are watching TV3, which is owned by foreigners, and is taking advertising revenue off state-owned TVNZ.

    Remind me again who allowed Mediaworks to defer payment on a debt to the taxpayer, while at the same time forcing TVNZ to close TVNZ7? So “taking advertising revenue off state-owned TVNZ” must be okay, since sweetheart deals on Crown debt are similarly okay.

    But aside from that, you do understand that spectrum is theoretically boundless (given that it’s possible to send multiple signals on one frequency and the technology to do this at sufficient quality for TV is constantly improving) and that its value is created by the government licensing only certain of those frequencies and thus creating artificial scarcity?

    And that there are alternative delivery media such as IPTV which are already eroding the market share of broadcast, so that as fast broadband with ever-increasing capacity is taken up by an ever-growing number of people even more producers will be able to create product?

    And that the entry cost, particularly for online channels, is thus ridiculously small, as is production cost given the increasing convergence of technology (e.g. DSLR cameras now being increasingly used in HDTV production)?

    But that land is finite and each hectare can produce a finite amount of whatever output it’s assigned to? And that the entry cost is therefore high.

    And using their Vodafone mobiles to pay to text this foreign-owned channel about foreign ownership.

    Again, spectrum vs land. Almost infinite vs finite. Another artificially scarce market. There is a lot of spectrum (e.g. FM radio sub-carrier) that could be used for data transmission but isn’t. Unless we’re going to farm national parks, or suburbia, our farmland is already being used for farming.

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  38. RRM (10,018 comments) says:

    Even more amusing is that many people still see F&P as a brand of quality…

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  39. Viking2 (11,565 comments) says:

    Rex. don’t know of you noticed in the business news but the ex boss from the stock exchange is nowt the New Media Works CEO.
    Perhaps he will get rid of all the lefties and send the station to the right.
    Now that would be a pleasant surprise.
    On the other hand I have no doubt the lefties will sabotage any moves in that direction.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11304483

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  40. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    Hi Viking2, yes I did notice that. It’s a wise move… the other candidates were all internal, I believe, and would no doubt have kept it on the same course. Talk is that Weldon has been brought in to “woo investors” but the Chairman reckons it’s “not for sale”.

    So who’d want to invest in a ship that’s hit an iceberg, made no effort to patch the hole (in terms of programming) and which intends to sail on into the ice floe?! Radio Live, for instance, has never come within sight of Newstalk ZB’s ratings lead and is in desperate need of a refreshed line-up and management with a real understanding of the format and the medium.

    Personally, I’m hoping for a public float, though the uncertain media landscape may mean that people with far more IPO experience than me (such as Weldon) counsel against it.

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  41. Lance (2,714 comments) says:

    @Jack5
    ALL Bosch fridge freezers are made in Brazil
    I never said the Germans were not managing the quality and that there is anything wrong with them.

    This is EXACTLY what F+P are doing.

    So what was your point again?
    That F+P should make commodity items in NZ? I call BS on that.
    What they should (and are) doing is make high tech and expensive items here and conduct the R+D here.
    Guess what…. they are. Medical and R+D is here

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  42. Harriet (5,131 comments) says:

    There’s nothing to stop F&P announcing a ‘skill shortage’ – and getting the designers from China – or elsewhere.

    Anyone here now someone who is a design engineer that has a work history in any related field?

    I didn’t think so. Big business NEVER does anything unplanned!

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  43. Jack5 (5,156 comments) says:

    Lance posted at 3.34:

    …Medical and R+D is here…

    Medical is in a different company altogether, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare.

    What has that got to do with Haier? Fisher & Paykel Appliances and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare were separated about 11 years ago.

    Keep up with the play, Lance.

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  44. wiseowl (931 comments) says:

    Richard@1.03pm.

    Heinz Watties has been gutted restructured and restructured again.

    Many suppliers of produce receive the same for their supply as they did 15 years ago.
    They have screwed everything out of anything and it is a shadow of its former self.
    James would be spinning if he knew what had happened to his great Watties company.

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  45. CharlieBrown (1,027 comments) says:

    Does Russel Norman own his own house? I ask because the greens are opposed to the chinese buying farms in NZ. Isn’t he a foreigner, so it would be hypocritical for him to oppose foreigners buying land in NZ.

    I wish people would be up front and honest about their concerns. The main reason NZ’ers oppose Chinese people from buying up in NZ is because they are different. They have a different form of government with different values than NZ’ers. It is a natural human condition to oppose change, and our opposition in this case is based on prejudice, albeit it is natural. I for one am uneasy about the idea of foreigners from Asian countries buying up in NZ but I am not opposed to it. I am uneasy about it as it has the potential to change NZ in a way I am unfamiliar with. But in the end, NZ has been changing constantly and over the last couple of decades it has been changing for the worse by envious, crack pot socialist loons.

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  46. gump (1,661 comments) says:

    @Lance

    My Miele washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, induction hob, and ovens were all made in Germany.

    That’s one of the main reasons I bought them. They come from a country and culture with a strong reputation for manufacturing quality.

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  47. Gulag1917 (1,008 comments) says:

    One thing that is rarely considered is the fact that the more NZ becomes dependent on overseas interests and the more we export and import the more vulnerable we become. e.g. two submarines cruising around the sea lanes could paralyse NZ shipping trade in the event of hostilities.

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  48. daniel carter (34 comments) says:

    CharlieBrown (915 comments) says:
    August 6th, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Does Russel Norman own his own house? I ask because the greens are opposed to the chinese buying farms in NZ. Isn’t he a foreigner…

    I think he lives here so is therefore a resident!!!!! The chinese firm is registered in China so therefore is not resident.

    Sometimes the level of comment here makes me really wonder

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