1 Oct 2018

Plans for country's biggest chicken farm plucked by OIO

7:20 pm on 1 October 2018

Tegel's plan to build a mega farm in Northland has been fried by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO).

A Tegel chicken farm in Helensville.

A Tegel chicken farm in Helensville. Photo: RNZ/Jessie Chiang.

The poultry giant has confirmed the OIO turned down its bid to buy 200 hectares of former dairy land at Arapohue, near Dargaville.

Tegel proposed to build 32 poultry sheds to raise nine million birds per year - which would have made it the biggest chicken farm in the country.

Tegel spokesperson Liam Baldwin said the company was disappointed at the outcome, which would have created 34 jobs.

Mr Baldwin said the development was to be large-scale, efficient and environmentally friendly, and would have been a significant step for chicken farming.

The local community widely opposed the farm, citing concerns around noise, smell, pollution and effects on property values in the small rural community.

A woman who campaigned against the poultry farm said she was relieved the plan had been rejected.

The Kāpehu marae is next to the land and chair Margaret Mutu said huge farming operations could cause massive health problems.

"We would have been stunk out of the place, we would have not been able to breathe the air, it would have been so polluted. It's a very, very dangerous operation they were trying to get away with."

But Kaipara District Mayor Jason Smith said the area would have benefited from the development and the loss of the giant chicken farm was another blow to the deprived region.

Dr Smith said Kaipara had not had any investment through the provincial growth fund and was struggling.

"This particular project was not without its challenges - very, very large challenges - but importantly projects such as this would bring employment opportunities, increased investment into the area and send out the signal that we are open for business."

Tegel protesters

Protesters against the proposed farm marched in August. Photo: RNZ/ Jessie Chiang

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