Peters still has nothing to say on farm sale to foreigner in his electorate

The NZ First leader avoids the issue by playing the man, not the ball.

In a statement to media (below), Winston Peters still has no substantive comment on the sale of a 316ha farm within his electorate to  Andreas Calantzopoulos, the Switzerland-based chief executive of Philip Morris.

The Overseas Investment Office made its approval of the sale public on Friday last week.

NZ First has campaigned vigorously against land sales to foreigners.

"The massive sell-off of New Zealand land under National is escalating,” Mr Peters recently said. 

The "land grab by foreigners" was also a theme of a speech earlier this week in Whanganui, where the NZ First said sales of land to foreign owners “went through the roof last year,” quoting figures that offshore buyers bought 465,863ha in 2016, compared to 79,897ha sold to foreigners in 2015.

“Where is the gain for New Zealand?” Mr Peters asked the audience.

“Our preference is for New Zealanders to farm and look after the land for generations to come.”

However, Mr Peters' attacks have mostly been focused on deals involving Chinese buyers.

On the Calantzopoulos deal on his doorstep, he still has nothing to say.

NBR's original report on the farmland sale noted Mr Peters was "for many years an ardent tobacco consumer" (the NZ First leader having fudged his response when approached by BusinessDesk's Pattrick Smellie last Friday).

In his press release below, Mr Peters says he no longer smokes.

The NZ First leader also accuses NBR of breaking a confidence by fulfilling to promise to write an opinion piece while waiting for him to comment to NBR Radio — an invitation which still stands.


RAW DATA: NZ First press release, July 6

PETERS KEEL-HAULS NBR’S KEALL OVER NORTHLAND ARTICLE

The Leader of New Zealand First and Northland’s Member of Parliament, the Rt Hon Winston Peters, has blasted an NBR hatchet piece.

“You could say the work of alleged journalist Chris Keall in NBR isn’t worth the paper it’s written on but that’s being charitable,” says Mr Peters.

“As Mr Keall has broken confidence after being told we were doing background checks first, people deserve to know his response:  “When he's ready to speak, keen for him to do an interview with Grant Walker on NBR Radio. May give him a rark up in the meantime”.

“We won’t be hectored at by some stuck-up egotistical central Auckland media luvvie, whose idea of journalism is a “rark up”.

“If NBR aspires to follow The Truth’s editorial standards then it’ll go the same way.  We won’t apologise for getting the facts about Mr and Mrs Calantzopoulos first.  NBR’s just upset because we didn’t perform like the trained National Party seals they’re used to.

“And comparing the Northland farm with Mt White Station is like saying NBR is equal to the Financial Times.  Mr and Mrs Calantzopoulos’ farm was approved by the OIO whereas we can still keep Mt White Station in Kiwi hands.

“One is like closing the gate after the horse has not just bolted but is in the next county, whereas we can still slam the gate shut on the other.

“Being on the road in rural New Zealand we’ve got news for Mr Keall, the NBR and the smug Auckland establishment who run the modern National Party.  There’s an electoral tsunami coming that’ll shake their world apart. It’ll be great for the regions but bad for them.

“In other news showing how out of touch Mr Keall is to be writing about politics - I no longer smoke,” says Mr Peters.

ENDS

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