Jeri­cho owner re­lieved sale process fi­nally over

The Southland Times - - WEATHER - GERALD PIDDOCK

The new owner of Jeri­cho Sta­tion says it is a re­lief a year-long process is fi­nally over af­ter the con­tro­ver­sial sale of the big Manapouri hill coun­try farm to a Chi­nese buyer fell through.

South­land farmer Ed Pinck­ney found out on April 10 that the Chi­nese bid­der had with­drawn an ap­pli­ca­tion to the Over­seas In­vest­ment Of­fice (OIO) and is look­ing for­ward to tak­ing over the prop­erty in June. ‘‘Re­lief is prob­a­bly the best word re­ally.

‘‘It’s been awe­some to get it and we have been work­ing on it for over a year.’’

Pinck­ney’s of­fer had been valid un­til the end of this month and while he had hoped the Chi­nese bid­der would with­draw, he thought no of­fi­cial de­ci­sion would be made yet. Last year, for­mer own­ers Pamu (Land­corp) agreed to the Chi­nese $8.7 mil­lion of­fer for the 1359-hectare farm, Jeri­cho Sta­tion, near Manapouri, in what would have been the first sale by Land­corp to a for­eigner. The prospec­tive Chi­nese buyer is be­lieved to be Wenchen Du, who is a di­rec­tor of Qian­long Farms, a com­pany es­tab­lished in Novem­ber 2016. Pinck­ney had been in con­tention for the sheep and beef farm, though his of­fer was about $200,000 less. Pamu said in a state­ment it was ad­vised that the orig­i­nal pur­chaser of Jeri­cho farm had with­drawn an ap­pli­ca­tion from the OIO and was un­able to com­plete the pur­chase of the farm.

‘‘As such we have pro­ceeded to fi­nalise the sale and pur­chase of the farm with the party that has made an un­con­di­tional back up of­fer, which does not re­quire OIO ap­proval. We ex­pect the sale of the farm to be com­pleted by the be­gin­ning of June. Pamu has no other farms cur­rently for sale.’’

Pinck­ney was not against for­eign own­er­ship and in­vest­ment, but also liked to see New Zealan­ders be­ing able to buy land at an eco­nomic price and that no­tion had been chal­lenged in the past.

Jeri­cho Sta­tion has been bought by South­land farmer Ed Pinck­ney.

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