Cra­far farms mak­ing progress de­spite loss

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY - By MICHAEL FOX

The Cra­far farms con­tro­ver­sially sold to Chi­nese in­vestors have lost more than $1 mil­lion dur­ing the first year un­der new own­er­ship.

How­ever, the first an­nual re­port shows the farm mak­ing progress to­wards meet­ing the sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of con­di­tions im­posed on the sale.

The 16 farms, cov­er­ing about 8000 hectares, were bought by the Pengxin New Zealand Farm Group in De­cem­ber 2012 and are run by Land­corp.

The re­port shows the farms earned $10,481,240 be­tween De­cem­ber 1 last year and June 30 this year.

Ex­pen­di­ture was $11,497,408, re­sult­ing in a net op­er­at­ing loss of $1,008,206.

The re­port cited the se­vere drought which af­fected the North Is­land this year and caused a drop in milk pro­duc­tion and an in­crease in costs as a re­sult of hav­ing to buy feed.

‘‘Within six weeks of pur­chas­ing the land, the farms were – like most of the North Is­land – in the grip of the worst drought in 70 years,’’ the re­port said.

‘‘ The crit­i­cal fo­cus for Pengxin and Land­corp was to man­age the wel­fare of all an­i­mals on the prop­erty, and pro­tect the farm­ing po­si­tion for the sub­se­quent sea­son.’’

One of the con­di­tions im­posed on the sale was that Pengxin spend $15.7 mil­lion over the fol­low­ing three years up­grad­ing the prop­er­ties which had been in re­ceiver­ship for three years and which needed sig­nif­i­cant work.

The re­port out­lined ma­jor de­vel­op­ments, in­clud­ing ren­o­vat­ing di­lap­i­dated farm houses, im­prov­ing the pre­vi­ously con­tam­i­nated and in­ad­e­quate wa­ter sup­ply, build­ing new cow­sheds and ef­flu­ent ponds and putting gates into pad­docks which pre­vi­ously did not have any.

Land In­for­ma­tion Min­is­ter Mau­rice Wil­liamson said he was pleased with progress.

Fair­fax NZ News

Photo: PHIL REED/FAIR­FAX­ME­DIA

Mau­rice Wil­liamson: The Land In­for­ma­tion Min­is­ter is pleased with progress.

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