29 Aug 2014

Cunliffe now unsure over Lochinver sale

8:54 pm on 29 August 2014

Labour leader David Cunliffe says the party may not be able to stop Lochinver Station being sold even if it leads the next government after the election next month.

The property near Taupo in the central North Island is being sold to the Chinese group Shanghai Pengxin, subject to approval from the Overseas Investment Office.

David Cunliffe.

Labour leader David Cunliffe. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Mr Cunliffe has earlier said he would stop the sale if he becomes the country's next Prime Minister, but told a televised leaders' debate last night the sale could be approved if there was a strong economic case.

Today he denied that is a change in his position: "We oppose the sale, we will change the law. The application that has been made must be considered by the ministers within their discretion on the basis of the law as it stood when the application was made. That is the position of the law - I cannot change that."

However, Mr Cunliffe said the application that has been made has to be considered under the legislation at the time it was lodged.

National Party leader John Key says Mr Cunliffe is sending mixed messages. He said the law is very clear - and the Labour leader should know it.

Disputed ground - an aerial view of Lochinver Station.

Lochinver Station near Taupo in the central North Island. Photo: SUPPLIED

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