22 Sep 2015

Lochinver owners should be compensated - ACT

10:21 am on 22 September 2015

The government should compensate the owners of Lochinver Station for blocking its sale to a foreign investor, says the ACT Party.

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Last week the government declined an application for Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin to buy the large central North Island farm for $88 million.

Despite approval from the Overseas Investment Office, the government concluded the benefits to New Zealand from the sale were not substantial and identifiable.

But ACT leader David Seymour said the government had trampled on the Stevenson Group's property rights by stopping the sale.

"Stevenson have likely lost tens of millions of dollars through this sale being blocked, and if it's the case that there is a publuc purpose to doing this - and the govenrment says there is - then I think there is a case for them to be compensated just as anybody else who suffers a regulatory taking for a public purpose."

Mr Seymour said the second best offer for the farm was $68 million.

Pure 100 Farm Ltd, a subsidiary of China-based Shanghai Pengxin, applied to the OIO last year to buy the 13,800 hectare sheep and cattle farm near Taupo for $88 million.

Shanghai Pengxin already owns 29 New Zealand farms, mostly dairy, including 16 farms formerly owned by the Crafar family.

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