11 Feb 2011

Natural Dairy threatened reputation damage in Crafar bid

6:54 am on 11 February 2011

A Hong-Kong based company bidding to buy the Crafar farm group threatened to damage New Zealand's reputation for international investment if its bid was unsuccessful.

Documents released under the Official Information Act show Natural Dairy Holdings told the Overseas Investment Office that refusing to grant it consent was likely to deter other Chinese investors.

It told the office its investors would talk to the Chinese Government and other potential investors about New Zealand's overseas investment policy.

The office turned down Natural Dairy Holdings' bid in December on the basis its representatives failed to meet good character requirements.

The bid was fronted by bankrupt businesswoman May Wang.

The office is now considering a bid for the Crafar farms by another Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says the documents show the amount of pressure the Overseas Investment Office comes under.

He the office should routinely release information about foreign companies trying to buy land in New Zealand.