Bill puts limits on global buyers
LABOUR is proposing legislation to prevent foreign investors from buying rural land unless they can promise an increase in exports or substantial jobs.
Leader David Shearer released a new member’s bill to limit the discretion of ministers to consent to overseas buyers.
It comes after public outcry about the potential sale of the Crafar farms to a Chinese company.
The High Court overturned the government’s decision to approve the sale of the 16 North Island farms and the Overseas Investment Office is reconsidering the bid.
Shearer said his bill – which would have to be drawn from the ballot before it could be progressed through Parliament – said foreigners should be made to prove that they can bring ‘‘substantial benefits’’.
‘‘A clean, clever and jobrich future is not going to be achieved by selling off our productive assets,’’ he said.
‘‘Kiwis are overwhelmingly opposed to the sale of prime rural land, like the Crafar farms, to overseas investors.
Labour leader David Shearer released a new member’s bill to limit the discretion of ministers to consent to overseas buyers.
‘‘We are listening to them and are prepared to act in their best interests.’’
The Overseas Investment (Owning Our Own Rural Land) Amendment Bill would require the responsible Minister to be satisfied that the overseas investment would result in the creation of ‘‘a substantial number of additional jobs in New Zealand or a substantial increase in exports from new technology or products associated with the purchase.’’
He criticised the National-led government for not properly exercising their discretion.
‘‘We would be happy for them to take up this bill as their own and progress it through Parliament as soon as possible to ensure there is no longer any doubt about the limits on the overseas purchase of rural land,’’ he said.
Shearer said he does not want rural land to be priced out of the reach of farmers.