2 Sep 2021

Five more overseas companies approved to buy forestry or farm land

3:37 pm on 2 September 2021

The latest round of Overseas Investment Office decisions shows five more overseas companies have been allowed to buy forestry land or farm land for conversion.

Canterbury region farms

Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

The sales have been approved by the Overseas Investment Office under the special forestry test.

This is designed to encourage tree planting, but has become a concern for some farming groups who say jobs and productive farm land are being lost.

The approved sales for the month of July include a sheep and beef farm in South Island's Waitaki District, a breeding and finishing farm in nearby Clutha and a sheep, beef and deer farm in Waikato.

The majority of land on all three properties be converted to commercial forests.

Waitaki District mayor Gary Kircher said it's gutting more farm land is being turned into forest in his region.

"It just keeps happening and I think there's going to be more and more of this happening as people and companies around the world look to offset the carbon emissions.

"But we are loosing good productive land to forests that don't create jobs."

He said the council had receieved complaints about a carbon forestry company operating in the area not following it's resource consent by planting outside designated areas and in waterways.

"The complaints came through just before lockdown so we are waiting until we are able to get onto the property to investigate and if needed we will prosecute.

"That's certainly our stance, with these companies coming in and buying up farm land and planting it into forestry - they need to follow the rules."

Meanwhile a UK company has bought a 230 hectare forestry block in Marlborough and US company has picked-up over 40 hectares of recently harvested land in the Waimate District.

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