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Crafar-China controversy could spook foreign investors – Fed Farmers

At a media briefing yesterday, a Chinese embassy official reportedly issued a not-so-veiled threat over the Crafar farm deal.

The government is waiting on a new Overseas Investment Office recommendation on the $210 million Shanghai Pengxin bid for the 16 Crafar Farms, following a High Court-ordered reassessment of the original OIO approval.

Political counsellor Cheng Lei implied future Chinese investment in New Zealand hinged on the outcome of the OIO review.

Mr Cheng said US, EU and other foreign investors would also be watching with concern.

This morning, Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills did not want to comment on the specifics of the Chinese embassy counsellor’s comments.

But he did tell NBR “There is a danger the controversy will scare off all foreign investors. They might look at it and say ‘This is just too hard. There are just too many hoops to jump through.”

It was particularly debilitating that the Crafar controversy had dragged on for two years, Mr Wills said.

“Investors need certainty and clarity. Especially if OIO approval is required, they need some kind of steer on whether they’re likely to succeed,” Mr Wills said.

“They might just say, ‘This is too hard’ and take their money to South America or elsewhere.”

Foes of the Crafar sale – including the Sir Michael Fay-led consortium that has bid $170 million – would say that is no bad thing.

So where does Fed Farmers stand?

It straddles the fence.

On the one side, the organisation would have liked to have liked to have seen the 16 farms sold separately – an option that would have made the sale process more accessible to local buyers.

“But we’re also sensitive to the fact New Zealand needs foreign investment,” Mr Wills said.

“Sadly, we’re a nation of spenders, not savers.”

Urban and rural areas are both in debt – most of it owed to foreign banks.

Farm debt alone is $47 billion, Mr Wills said.

The Crafar farms are currently in the hands of an Australian bank (Westpac). A sale to a overseas party would mean foreign debt was being replaced by foreign equity.

“We need to be very concerned we're frightening off foreign investors,” Mr Wills said.

So does a government that desperately wants to realise export gains promised by New Zealand's hard-won free trade agreement with China, but is wary of hostile public sentiment.

More by Chris Keall

Comments and questions

Well might Federated Farmers be concerned.

With one stroke of the pen, NZ will find its fastest growth market for farm products come to a grinding halt.

NZ brand and reputation are good currently but they will not withstand a move by the Chinese government to show NZ that New Zealanders cannot discriminate against Chinese investors.

Don't believe?

Ask the Norwegians about their salmon exports into China (or rather the halt of)

And remember how NZ just buckle under when France (Rainbow Warrior) decided to use trade as a weapon to make NZ wake up to the reality that NZ is but a pimple of the global economic scene these days.

And does your SIR MICHAEL FAY care? Heck, he could not give a stuff when he stitched up NZ over Telecom, TranzRail, BNZ etc.

Absolutely correct.

The Chinese government can stop (or reduce to a trickle) all imports of NZ products within minutes if they decide to do so. Anyone who thinks they wouldn't flex their muscles in this way is deluding him/herself.

Crafar has cynically been politicised by our admirable tax dodging "knight" who after making hundreds of millions and running away with the loot to avoid tax has now reinvented himself as a patriot. Stomach-turning.

A few xenophobic politicians weigh in, a judge engages in a bit of judicial activism and the result is a complete fiasco that could unravel years of skilled diplomacy and hard work building trade ties with China.

Well done Sir Michael, New Zealander of the Year!

For your info, Ben...

In October 2004 the NZ Securities Commission accused Richwhite and Midavia Rail Investments, a company owned by Richwhite and Fay, of insider trading. Richwhite was alleged to have tipped off Midavia to sell NZ$63 million worth of Tranz Rail shares, whilst knowing Tranz Rail faced financial problems undisclosed to the public. In June 2007, Midavia paid NZ$20 million to settle insider trading proceedings relating to Tranz Rail.
Perhaps, Her Royal Highness, The Queen, on the advice of NZ Prime Minister, should get Mr Fay (no longer respected by NZers) to return his Knighthood Medal...


Spot on comment,

Xenophobia isn't pleasant. Sadly all too common on NBR.
Why care about Crafar farms and not ones that are much larger sold to US interests?
Why care who owns the farms when they are operated by experts?
Why are you not up in arms about the current Australian ownership?
Why are you not protesting at the proposed Swiss ownership?

The man who wants to be the next PM of NZ is the worse - David Shearer joining in the chorus of xenophobia and not even getting his facts right before putting on a song and dance anti-China routine.

A statesman he never will be - just a stuttering incoherent closet racist.

Mr Fay is indeed so ashamed of his actions in the case of TranzRail that he is going to buy Crafar farms and gift it back to New Zealanders.

Will that allow him to retain his dignity and 'Sir' title?

Or will his face and name be always synonymous with hypocrite scumbag?

Mr (or Sir) Michael FAY should have unquestionably returned the Queen Award of KNIGHTHOOD" if he really did believed that he was ashamed in that case.
Unfortunately, he didn't and still trying to stirrup local Iwiis to back him up in the Crafar Farm Scenario.
Wait till he is taken the Higher Courts by the World's Rich Chinese Government, will he realised that his legal bills be too costly to challenge then...

I am hoping that New Zealanders will react badly to the thinly-veiled threat by the China government, and tell the Chinese to pxss off.

When the Chinese government shows NZ the one finger trade gesture, New Zealanders will then know their place in the world - nobodies reliant on other countries to survive.

Make my day, punk.

Do you feel lucky?

I support free trade therefore they can buy land here only when I can buy land there.

The Chinese themselves cannot even buy land themselves in China! When are you morons going to wake up to that?

And NZ needs their money to pay back the billions borrowed to develop land, build houses, farms and maintain living standards in the first place.

What a joke - New Zealanders expecting to have money to buy land in Asian countries? Any idea how expensive land and properties are now in China?

I guess you are expecting to borrow the money to buy, right? Just as you do already by the tens of billions to buy your overinflated but now worthless second homes by the beach, lakesetc?

NZ land is for sale to anyone irrespective of RACE...this is the Laws of NZ, and wake up guy.


Yes Bro. Let's just stop borrowing, pay back all the money we owe overseas and tell the almighty dollar to get stuffed.

Oh yes, we cannot really do that, can we? We love our Japanese cars, TVs, holidays and gadgets too much.

Well bro - you lead by selling all those items and stop borrowing, ok?

Rest of us will be right behind you, bro.


will existing the NZ landowners be held to the same conditions being used by the not for sale lobby?. Hope not

I dont want my land use controlled ever in the future by these reasons used by the don't sell mob.

Wonder how farmers who are looking to retire and sell their farms feel about not being able to sell for the best price due to the rantings and ravings of the xenophobic-racist-head-in-the-sand-don't-sell-mob.

David Shearer should go and hang his head in shame to cater to those racist sentiments so to score a few political points.

just read what the Chinese government did with the Airbus deal?

Let's see how the big EU handle this one.

By bye China, good ridance, this is not your country, we don't need you, we don't want you, and I couldn't care less if I never saw another Chinese product in this country - I stopped buying anything made in your country a long time ago.

Wait till the NZ Government starts begging China for a loan to pay beneficiaries like you to buy only Chinese goods that you can afford....

Fortunately I'm not a beneficiary, I pay tax and I don't buy Chinese goods. If I had my way, beneficiaries wouldn't be able to use their benefit to buy anything unless it was made in New Zealand. You wouldn't be allowed into this country to live unless you took off you committed to learning english and took of your burka. But that will never happen because Aussie Malcolm and Maurice Williamson would be out of a job. And the only reason China supplies loans is for people to buy crap in $2 shops. Stop the loans - go on - I dare you.

Haha - you must so wish for the days of Muldoon when NZ produced crap cars, crap clothing's, crap TVs, crap shoes, in fact crap everything at exhorbitant prices.

If you are one tenth the person you say you are, you will stop using the computer you are using - because most of it is made in China.

You will also stop wearing all the shirts and clothing's you have in your wardrobe - because they inevitably will have parts made in China.

So go back to your motherland where your backward peasant class illiterate descendants (just like you now) come from.

Fortunately, Most NZers are not that naive and silly as you are.
If they were like you, who is so stubband to use only China-free products, they could be enjoying "iives in the 18th century".
Fortunately, time has change.
Even the USA, supposedly the world's most powerful nation, has to accept that loans from China, otherwise it could be bankrupt by now.
Furthermore, without foreign immigrants, most NZ elderly (without any children of too few to look after them in their old age) would crawling on the floor of all rest homes, begging for basic attention and service.
No wonder you idea is not GOSPEL to all NZers.

Said Anonymous may yet be one honorable person who now realises that his computer is made from China, so has stopped using it. That's why no more response from the illiterate peasant class moron.

Next he will be walking around half-naked and has also stopped watching TV.

Listen fu man chu, if you're going to spout plopaganda from Chairman Mao's politburo then please learn to write chinglish ploperly

You sound like the blind leading the...

However, I believe your written English should be:-

"if you're going to spout propaganda from Chairman Mao's politburo, please learn to write English properly".

Please your comment before posting next time.

I am deeply in doubt that you can live without buy a product (or a part of it) made in China. In addition, FYI, most of the goods sold by Warehouse are not available on Chinese market. They are produced to meet NZ market conditions.

You'd be surprised you can certainly avoid made in China with your weekly grocery bill.

I try to buy made in NZ when doing my supermarket shopping. if you take the time to check the label you'd be surprised that you can do almost everything buying NZ made. some supermarkets are better than others - avoid Countdown, since it stopped being Foodtown alot of local product seems to have gone off the shelves. I find New World very good for local product so I give them my business.

Despite looking like it is for the top end of the market Nosh also supports local fresh food at prices just as good as a supermarket and I like giving them some of my business to support competition in the marketplace.

What I did find when I made the committment to buy NZ made was that I did pay a bit more for what I bought sometimes but it made me stop making impulse purchases on stuff I really didn't need. My budget works out in the end.

Having said all this I had to go without peanut butter for a while and peanuts all seem to be imported still for some crazy reason. Here's hoping some bright spark up north starts growing those they way they manage to grow all sorts of other amazing things in recent years.

And I also try and avoid Chinese product and I will not buy anything that does not have where it's made on it and unfortunately that includes some Kiwi made too.

If everyone supported local with their weekly shop just imagine what it would do for our economy and unemployment.

Try it.

Perhaps you should write to the Chinese Agencies to avoid NZ goods as well...

Good "onyu" fairgo kiwi, well said
Maybe we should also build a concrete wall around NZ and slowly regress back to NZ in the 1500's :)

I am kinda surprised to see that Chinese who always CLAIM of non-intervention in domestic affairs of a country are now THREATENING & BULLYING New Zealand and her government!

What a hypocrisy and baloney. Rats!

Anyways, Nats will finally say "Yes, Sir", the deal will be sealed and the farms sold. As simple as 1, 2,3.. Don't believe? Just wait and see.

As the former commentator said, the bullying tactic works, especially for such a little player like NZ. Sad to see that NZ govt cannot see that Chinese need us much more than we need them..

China is taking 12% of NZ exports, whereas <1%, vice versa. You don't have to a rocket scientist to understand basic economy that who is needing whom.

Who is borrowing from who to pay the grocery bills? NZ or China?
Or for that matter, NZ or Japan, Singapore, Australia, Germany?

NZ will be a goner if it cannot borrow from those other countries. It will be back to crap cars and crap clothings.

Unfortunately, typical of some of the xenophobic racist frog in the well mentality of some New Zealanders that any country needs NZ, more than NZ needs them!

Maybe, the Pacific Islands do but nobody else does.

Tell the Chinese to get stuffed. They are engaged in a global strategic asset grab (look at their dodgy dealings in Sudan and Zambia) and yes they DO need our farm products. Keep them at arms length. Our land is our strategic asset.
So Dragon care to reveal what motivates you? I think I can imagine.

Brave words.

Care to show how brave you are?

Pay back all your borrowings for starters, can you?

When China retaliates, show us how brave you are at tightening your belt next.

But what's the point of even discussing? Heck, we all know how NZ kneel under to the French very quickly, begged for relief and allowed murderers and terrorists go - even before a trade bullet was even fired by the French!

Best to describe you as a senile toothless yelping live-in-the-past imperialistic has-been.

Stop masquerading around NBR with your fake 'names'. We know you are the one posting all these pro-China comments in this article.

Your style of English and communist thoughts are very obvious to us.

That's what you do.

I don't need to as there are fortunately enough New Zealanders now who know what is fair and what is morally right.

Racism as practiced by the likes of you will be a dark curse upon you, your kind and your future generation. Mark my words.

Hey Dragon, is this where you come when you're taking a break from trying to hack into Google and steal American intellectual property for your great leap forward. Enjoy sitting in your cave in Beijing wishing you could live anywhere in the world except China (like the other 1.3 billion desperate to leave) because you're never going to get an inch of land in this country.

Too late, matey.

We already own plenty and we will own more.

You just keep on a borrowing and just keep a buying our goods, ok?


Has you ever watch any Olympic Games held in BEIJING, CHINA in 2008?
Are those sophisticated venues looking like "caves to you"?
Perhaps, you did watch but had a poor memory of the events.

Dragon - whatever the Chinese embassy propaganda team are paying you it aint enough. You'll be coming out with 'running dog lackey of the capitalist pigs' quotes next.
Fortunately enough Kiwis know sufficient about the Chinese regime not to trust them an inch so go and take your traitorous garbage elsewhere.

It may interest you to know that I am even more wary of the China government than you will ever be.

The likes of you will however be not allowed to practice anymore the racist xenophobic live-in-the-past policies against Asians, especially the Chinese.

You got away with it in the past - no more.

And fortunately, China is now a super-power in everyday so make their day.

Are you feeling lucky?

BTW, SIR MICHAEL FAY thank you for your patriotism. That's the way he likes it - you all working like the peasants that he sees you all as, for his benefit.

He likes you to know that living in Switzerland off the hundreds of millions of $poils he made, flogging NZ assets to overseas investors and corporates, is not easy. His conscience pricks him about ten seconds every month - especially when he pours himself another glass of tax-free champagne.

All courtesy of the NZ tax payers.

Cheers, matey.

It's all fair dinkum, you know.

Touched a raw nerve there did I Dragon? Just a few contradictions in your latest missive I see; you do rather give yourself away. Still whichever English language school you attended seems to have done a moderately good job - although I imagine it helps when all you have to do is rehash tired slogans..

Do you take your reward in yuan or dollars? Traditionally the reward for folk like you was 30 pieces of silver but I doubt your paymasters stretch to precious metals.

Sir Michael Fay says to you - "continue the good work, matey. Beers on me the next time, ok"?

("Champagne is too good for peasants", he whispers to his usual drinking companion.)

For your info. dragon is a failed bank teller immigrant student from china who is now on the dole and too afraid to go back and face his family and explain.
He isn't worth the time.

Thanks for the compliment, matey.

Anything is better than the illiterate peasant class morons encountered here.

Sir Michael Fay says "Can always count on the peasant class in NZ to rise to my occasion."

Well done, Dragon...

Hundreds of years ago, many hardworking Chinese immigrants came to NZ as "coolies, forced to leave their wife and children back home, and even had to pay a 100 NZ pounds work permit tax to the NZ government".
However, lately they are arriving in droves with substantial amount of cash that not many NZers can ever dream of.
Wake up fellow kiwis (perhaps who have not been even taken any flights overseas) and try to learn from what our government is now doing, before you simply scare aways all these tycoons, who will create more jobs for you and your jobless overgrown children...

BTW, Mr Morrison is still wanting receivers to sell businesses and properties the moment they take control.

Wow! Awe-inspiring moronism at work!

david parker of the commie party doesn't believe the threats.

another case of head in sand

Sir Michael Fay says :

" Gee!

Never imagined in my wildest dreams that David Shearer will come up and support me!



Jandals and flip-flops!

Kiwifruit and pavlova!"

Ok, I'll borrow, and buy chinese goods, and then I won't pay you back.

I don't think the New Zealand government ever forced anyone to leave a foreign country to come to New Zealand.

100 pound work permit? So what? Who else was going to pay it? Kiwis?

Arriving in droves. True.

Susbstantial amounts of cash? Who?

Tycoons? Who?

Jobs for Kiwis? Where?

Nice work replying to yourself Dragon.

Sorry, and poor assumption again....
but Dragon and I are two different commentors.
Learn before you comment like a fool, will you?

Those venues sure were sophisticated - stunning in fact. The beautiful Bird's Nest, the Water Cube and the National Stadium.

And every one of them, without exception, were designed by architects from Europe, the USA and Australia.

So what, and can you afford them?

Perhaps it might be an idea to read the article again. What the man said was:

“There is a danger the controversy will scare off all foreign investors. They might look at it and say ‘This is just too hard. There are just too many hoops to jump through'.”

I don't see how anyone could seriously dispute this statement of the obvious.

It is particularly applicable to Chinese investors who played by the rules, following a protracted OIO process only to have their deal derailed by xenophobia and the Fay Boys' sh!t stirring.

If I were them I'd be looking at other countries in the region with fertile land where technology and investment could massively boost food production. Anybody who says there aren't any is deluding themselves and I am sure this is precisely what the Chinese are doing.

Assets continue to be sold to foreign investors because

a) NZers have little capital to invest having squandered their money on imported cars and TVs and overpriced housing, and

b) even when capital is available NZers simply cannot see the true value of the assets because they have zero idea of how global business operates. (This is how and why Fay was able to make all that money and flee to Switzerland.)

NZ's economic policy is to borrow, borrow and borrow, spout platitudes about added value and knowledge economies etc etc and whilst hoping that something turns up.

And you are like that wiss dragon. You are concerned about what others are borrowing, lending and spending!
Please mind your own business. Others business dealings have nothing to do with you.
This is NZ, not communist China.


I am not in the least concerned about what others are borrowing, lending and spending, I am just stating the facts as I see them and expressing an opinion. I don't think this makes me a stooge of the Chinese.

The duly-elected NZ government has the right to run its economic and foreign policy in any way it wants and to block or frustrate foreign investors any time it wants. The politicians will do whatever they think expedient and I am sure they take zero notice of anything you, I or anyone else says (unless you are a mate of cabinet ministers, and I'm not).

With all due modesty I think that "NZ's economic policy is to borrow, borrow and borrow, spout platitudes about added value and knowledge economies etc etc whilst hoping that something turns up" sums it up rather well.

Can you point out which parts of my comments you don't agree with?


Others borrowing and spending = no savings = NZ govt having to borrow = reliance on overseas lenders and investors.

Simple really.

Sir Michael Fay says "New Zealanders are like moths. They get attracted by bright lights so light a flame at them, burn them but they will keep coming back. Sigh, we have not been able to find mugs like them anywhere else in the world. So it's back to NZ and we hit the jackpot! A bit of PR and the xenophobic racist morons are supporting me! More champagne, please!"

Hi Ben'
The borrowing of Nations;

Please compare NZ with Germany and France, the two great saviours of the Euro and Greece!

I personally believe, yes, our borrowing is too high, but I also believe that the number employed in any Nation is governed by the amount of money that is in circulation in that nation. Bearing that in mind I believe our present Gov. has found itself between a rock and a hard place and under the circumstances is doing well. It first must tackle the profligacy of central gov. then that of local gov. But if it goes too fast ??? Well, it would spell gloom for exporters (high dollar) and doom for them at the next election (high unemployment. Wouldn't it?

Labor = spend, borrow and hope.

National = borrow and sell assets to pay back what Labor has borrowed.

National gets voted out and Labor is back, spending, borrowing and hoping.

This is the cycle that NZ has got itself into.

And there are some like Mr Morrison who advocates selling assets the day receivers are appointed.

NZ fire sale soon?

For a more reasoned view of the economic implications, stripped of emotion, see,19938/19938_Crafar_Counterfactual_full_Feb_2012_BH.pdf

presumably that "reasoned" cr@p was written in a cave somewhere in Beijing.

for a more reasoned view of Chinese business practices, stripped of emotion, see

And it was of course okay for the West to steal all the intellectual capital of China in the old days. And if that was not enough, force the Chinese to be addicted to opium so that the West could lord over a whole nation and took away valuable commodities like gold, silver, tea, silk, porcelain and art for bugger all.

Karma, guys - now it's the children of the West being ravaged by the scourge of drugs.