Crafar job claims don't stack up: rival group

Creating just eight new jobs is hardly a worthwhile to the economy, says a group opposed to the sale of the Crafar farms to Chinese buyers.

A group opposed to the sale of the Crafar farms to Shanghai Pengxin is questioning the claim the sale has economic benefits through job creation. 

According to Overseas Investment Office documents, the Chinese buyers claim up to eight new full time equivalent positions would be created as a result of the sale. 

 

The OIO says the number of new jobs that would be created is modest given the size of the business operating on the properties. 

 

It also expresses doubt jobs would be created through marketing and processing, greater productivity, and capital expenditure, as claimed by Shanghai Pengxin.

 

Landcorp will manage the farms on behalf of the company. 

 

As part of the deal, Shanghai Pengxin has agreed to spend about $16 million, or about $1m per farm, over the next three years. 

 

Chief executive Chris Kelly says about 70 people are employed on the farms, but additional staff will be brought on as they start to invest in the properties. 

 

"We'll be getting local contractors to do fencing and yards, doing up the houses and the cow sheds, and putting new technology in," Mr Kelly says. 

 

"As the farms become more productive over time, we will need more farm staff on an ongoing basis as well."

 

Mr Kelly estimates eight to 10 FTEs would be created in the long-term. 

 

He would not say specifically which positions would be created, but the OIO documents show at least two FTEs would come through the appointment of various managers to operate the farms, and another to run the on-farm training facility. 

 

Spokesman for the rival consortium led by Sir Michael Fay, Alan McDonald, says creating eight FTEs doesn't offset the losses to New Zealand as a result of the deal. 

 

He says based on the current Fonterra payout, New Zealand loses about $15m a year to the farms Chinese owners. 

 

"Eight farm worker salaries hardly makes that up. So I'm failing to see how that's an economic benefit," Mr McDonald says. 

 

He says the only obvious benefit from the deal is the on-farm training facility Shanghai Pengxin have proposed to establish. 

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