Maurice Williamson u-turn over Crafar court action
Land Information minister Maurice Williams was wrong when he told parliament yesterday there was court action against May Wang over Crafar farms purchases.
Having made a detailed personal statement to the House, followed by media interviews, Mr Williamson today backtracked with another personal statment admitting he was wrong.
Contrary to what he told parliament, court action by the Overseas Investment Office to force the sale of four Crafar farms can’t yet go ahead.
Mr Williamson initially saids the OIO had launched court action to order May Wang to sell back the four farms she bought through her company UBNZ two years ago.
They had been bought without permission.
The remaining 16 farms, which have been in receivership, have all been sold to Hong Kong-registered company Shanghai Pengxin and its subsidiary, Milk New Zealand.
Mr Williamson said yesterday corruption charges laid against Ms Wang in Hong Kong had originally delayed OIO efforts, but the case had now finished and the stay on the farms lapsed.
"The Overseas Investment Office has decided to bring civil proceedings under section 47 of the Act to recover or to make those farms be down sold," he said in the House.
However, he has now retracted his original statement and says the case is not over yet and Hong Kong orders are still in force.
“As soon as legally possible the Overseas Investment Office will seek to have the ownership of the four farms involved regularised,” he now says.
The u-turn will explain why the OIO could not provide details of the court case or the timing of it to NBR ONLINE.
Senior communications adviser Brad Young says as it is a legal process he cannot talk about it.