7 Aug 2014

Stick to the facts on land sales - editor

11:00 pm on 7 August 2014

A Chinese journalist working in New Zealand says it's unfair that the Chinese company wanting to buy a large farm near Taupo is being used for political point-scoring.

Shanghai Pengxin's application to buy the 14,000 hectare Lochinver Station has triggered intense political debate, with the Labour Party threatening to block the sale if elected.

The assistant editor-in-chief of The Chinese Herald Jun Liu, said other Chinese investors watching the final outcome may be turned off putting their money into this country.

She said Chinese businesses should not be used as political pawns and the public debate should focus on the facts.

A Chinese business group agreed the negative publicity could make other investors nervous.

The co-chair of the China and New Zealand Business Council, Lilly Shi said New Zealand was still seen as a good long-term investment because of its political stability and respect for law, but politicians should be careful.

Lilly Shi said that she didn't think the controversy would deter investment in New Zealand long-term.

Australians exempt

Separately, the Labour Party has moved to clarify its plan to restrict land sales to foreigners, saying any changes would not affect Australians.

The Labour leader, David Cunliffe, said a Labour Government would block that sale, and would not be compensating the owners trying to sell, for any losses.

But he noted that the trans-Tasman Closer Economic Relations agreement allows Australians to freely buy residential property, and Labour would extend that to commercial and rural land sales.