Sir Michael Fay launches broadside at Landcorp

NBR Rich Lister says has had “gutsful” of rival bidder for Crafar farms and calls for SOE to be privatised.

Sir Michael Fay has launched an extraordinary attack against Landcorp, saying the SOE is “at best average” in running farms and should be sold off. The criticism comes as the Overseas Investment Office mulls a bid from China-based Shanghai Pengxin Group that includes Landcorp as a proposed partner.

Sir Michael launched a low-ball bid for the farming group last year, and despite receivers dismissing the offer as unacceptable the former merchant banker has mounted a public campaign based on nationalism calling for the Pengxin offer to be rejected.

In a statement put out by a public relations company this afternoon Sir Michael says Landcorp has no mandate to participate in the Pengxin bid.

“It’s no wonder so many New Zealand farmers have had a gutsful of Landcorp if they can’t see this conflict. Perhaps Landcorp should be the first SOE to be sold off and the whole lot can be returned to New Zealand farmers who will certainly do a better job of running those farms than a Government department,” he says.

“Landcorp is at best an average farmer of the vast tracts of land it holds and generally returns much lower production figures than their neighbours. Now they are setting themselves up as tenant farmers of land that the public demands should be retained in New Zealand ownership. Where’s the sense or their mandate for that?”

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