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China’s Shanghai Pengxin seeks approval to buy Lochinver Station

Shanghai Pengxin – the Chinese company that bought the Crafar dairy farms – is seeking approval to buy one of New Zealand’s most valuable farms.

The company has confirmed signing a sale and purchase agreement for Lochinver Station, a 13,800ha property near Taupo that has a rateable value of more than $70 million.

The deal, signed by Pengxin subsidiary Pure 100 Ltd, is now before the OIO and will also go through the Chinese regulatory approval process prior to settlement, the company says via a spokesman.

The statement was issued following comments from Conservative Party leader Colin Craig, who is campaigning on the issue of foreign ownership. 

"Although the deal has been agreed between the parties, and the Overseas Investment Office have received an application, the deal has not been disclosed to the public," Mr Craig said in a statement.

"We believe voters should be aware of what's going on behind closed doors, this is clearly an election issue."

A Bayleys source tells NBR ONLINE that tender notices for the property were handed to the vendor – Stevenson Group – earlier this year, but he was unable to confirm the identities of the other bidders.

The government approved the sale of the 16 central North Island Crafar farms to Shanghai Pengxin in 2012.

Those properties are in close proximity to Lochinver Station.

Stevenson Group is owned by the Stevenson family, whose net wealth climbed to $250 million in 2014, up from $180 million in 2013, according to the just-released NBR Rich List.

Described as one of the country’s largest and most productive farms, Lochinver Station has been under their ownership for more than half a century.

In an advertisement Bayleys says it expects the sale price to exceed the biggest farm transactions undertaken in the past five years, including St James Station in Canterbury for $45 million, a rural Dipton property in Southland that sold for $33 million, and Mt Pember Station in North Canterbury, which sold recently for close to $30 million.

Lochinvar is on the Rangitaiki Plains, 32km from Taupo and 92km from Napier.

It is a sheep and beef breeding and finishing and dairy support station with three airstrips, a lake, a recreational hunting block, 22 houses that accommodate the families of 20 permanent staff, a staff recreation centre, a school, 91kms of well formed pumice roads, six cattle yards, three woolsheds and other farm buildings. 

What do you think? Should foreign buyers' bids for approval to buy NZ land be made public? Click here to vote in our subscriber-only business pulse poll.

More by Duncan Bridgeman

Comments and questions

If the property is privately owned why should any details of the sale be made public? What planet is Craig on - do we not have private property rights?

The only relevant issue should be does the purchaser satisfy the criteria for OIO consent.

Dah It's the criteria, or rather the lack of, that is the problem!!

If the criteria is not met then it won't be approved. That's not hard to understand, surely.

The Chinese are no fools!

As a foreigner, try buying even a house or an apartment in China, where currently there's over five million standing empty. Go figure.

Unless they're planning to dig up the farm and transport it to China, who cares? Any investment they make will benefit NZ so what's the problem?

Oh wait. Is this because they're Chinese?

One day, we'll wake up from our slumber - and find it's all too late.

How is being a tenant in your own country a good thing... WAKE UP

Nobody is asking you to be a tenant.

Nobody is asking you to borrow.

Chinese. Elderly NZ voters. Chalk. Cheese.

Looking forward to Colin Craig protecting the interests of New Zealanders by imposing severe limits on overseas borrowings to fund social welfare payments, overseas holidays, TVs, smart phones, computers and of course, the second property by the sea or for rental.

What? He says it is okay to borrow but not to repay the borrowings? Figures.

I read these ignorant comments with incredulity. Overseas investors, particularly Communist China-backed corporations and the Chinese "princes" are buying up our country.

And you people don't care at all? You just make silly accusations of xenophobia and racism.

Why don't you apply reason to this whole issue, instead of the very typical name-calling?

Is money your only criterion?

What about New Zealanders being priced out of their own countryside, their own farms. their own land?

The biggest exodus in history from China is now taking place, especially as corrupt Chinese, concerned about being investigated, flee their country. Over 10 million dollars buys the very rich entry into New Zealand.

But what about NZers?
.Our government has exchanged principles and protection of New Zealanders and their birthright for pragmatism and the betrayal of us all.

Tenants in our own country? And that''s just fine with you lot?

What price the corruption of power?

Steady on, poor Cassandra - you will blow out the hernia in your ears at this rate! Worry not as Craig has now joined your hero, Winston 'NO' Peters to highlight the issue.

But wait, Owen Glenn is trying to get Winston's attention again about the politics of hypocrisy ?

And how many NZ citizens were born overseas?

Couldnt agree more.

Looks like Winston Peters has lost his monopoly on pre-election Asian / Chinese "bashing". Would be interesting to see which party has the most "dirt to spill" on foreign ownership , especially Chinese ownership. Can't wait for the election to be over and done with.

What right has Colin Craig got to be announcing this bit of non-news before Winston First has huffed and puffed all over it?

If we want NZ companies including Fonterra to invest in China, we have to accept Chinese companies can invest in NZ.

It makes us wealthier.

Land can't be exported. It's true that Fonterra invests in companies that control farms rather than farms per se, but it's medieval to focus on who owns the dirt. Look higher up the food chain.

we want to trade on equal terms then we need to allow Chinese companies invest here
BUT Fonterra can never own the land in china for their farms due to the
Property Law of the People's Republic of China
so why do we allow it here without reciprocal rights or just them lease the land

You are on equal terms, we have the same rights to land ownership in China as the Chinese do as ALL are allowed leasehold only. In NZ any NZer can own land so why can't an overseas person? Or we could strip all private ownership of NZ land in order to prevent the Chinese owning land.

Why don't we ask local iwi if they had their time again whether they would 'sell'...

well i know a group that bid $85mill, so you would have to say they fail the first test for an overseas purchaser

Yes i agree! Let them lease it not own it, as they do to us, in many countries worldwide.
Much of the money flowing here is "dirty "money and we are facilitating this and we should think about this morally.
In addition there is a clear trend for 1.dirty money to escape china before the government catch up with them and 2.They want to control their product supply chain, irrespective of how that may affect the inhabitants of the country that those assets are located in.
So if you are happy to accept their "rules "going forward then sell your assest at your peril.
I think we need to understand what these peoples motivations and principles are as they are definitely very different from ours.

Rob, where were you when the Americans bought NZ assets and businesses like Telecom and TranzRail and proceeded to strip these assets clean - making billions of dollars in the process and living NZ with run down third world services? And they were ably assisted by the claptrap patriotic New Zealanders who are now living NZ tax exempt overseas with their collaboration fees and gains of hundreds of millions of dollars?

In contrast, the Chinese have proven so far to be good corporate investors - pumping in millions of dollars to increase productivity and increase employment.

As for dirty money, NZ has the amongst the world's tightest rules to vet source of funds before granting approval. Get your facts straight before joining the xenophobic shallow minded brigade who seem to prefer New Zealanders ripping other New Zealanders off.

The problem of overseas ownership is not limited to the Chinese.

This government is in denial to the long term effects of being a tenant in your country of birth and those that have citizenship.

How is the government expecting to fund public infrastructure, education, health, justice and welfare if it doesn't collect taxes from these overseas interest that export their profits elsewhere?

You can't keep borrowing and selling off state assets forever, or transferring it to local government. This eventually comes to an end.

A big part of the answer lies with increasing the minimum wage to a living wage. The exchange rate will then lower, to make our exported products more competitive.

Answer is very simple, dear Xenophobic Richard S, and it is to stop borrowing overseas. Can you and other New Zealanders do without your overseas holidays, smart phones, TVs, cars, toys and mortgages?

Start with that very simple proposition and NZ will not need to sell assets to fund the borrowings.

Thought so - you along with all the others want your cake and eat it three times over.

Richard, the government isn't interested in funding infrastructure etc by collecting taxes from those Chinese interests. Your perspective, while commendable is based upon the assumption that the NZ government works for the benefit of NZers. 40 years ago and before that maybe, but now the NZ government is a firm whose highest members make money selling passports, residency etc to any crook who can pay the graft. Thankfully my generation will be long gone when China comes to rationalise it's Kiwi assets and gets rid of the local puppet government.

Your generation is the one which voted in Muldoon and his socialist policies of borrowing relentlessly for disastrous initiatives like the greed driven national super to replace self-funded super, think big projects and keep NZ white.

Thankfully, your kind do not make policies anymore and NZ is now interacting and doing ok with the rest of the world.

I'm with you Cassandra , Richard S and comment No 10.
Foreign ownership is for the benefit of the average New Zealand family ? ?
Are we not allowed to mention social and cultural differences anymore.? Oh , this is 'strictly business' .
Look out Fonterra you will be wagging the dogs tail.
They cant take the land, but on experience , you can pretty much guarantee ,it will never fall into Kiwi ownership again.Priced ourselves out ,with less benefits .Doesnt make sense

An absolutely appalling situation for NZ to be in. NZ'ers must wake up and realise they are selling the most valuable asset this country has. The ability to earn from exporting primary products can only diminish as the land is sold from underneath. Regardless if it is forestry, meat or milk products, they all need the land to grow on.

This needs to stop and there needs to be options to the likes of the Stevenson family from selling oversees. They for one should look back at what this country has given them and realise the farm should remain in NZ ownership. Don't be greedy.

Correction - NZ's most valuable asset is our youth and the world is their oyster. They do not want or need the xenophobia and the peasant minded mentality displayed so openly here by some posters.

Yes and like the sale of land off shore we are also selling our youth overseas to the higher bidders. The land we can keep in NZ ownership our youth we can't as they are free to explore the world and exploit the opportunities and fuel more greed.
Fix what we can now with stopping sales like this and work on plans to grow industry and keep the youth here and not just be a primary training ground.

Why don't we just don't sell? No one is forcing he sale to overseas investors. Oh , wait a minute, the investors are paying good money for it...

When the last bit of NZ land has been sold to overseas interests where will we go?

John Key has got to go, he has no interest in maintaining our interests just his own bank balance!

There is no point having military forces if we are going to let NZ to be taken over in such a subversive matter..........John Key should be charged with treason!