17 Oct 2012

Maori trusts lose bid to appeal against Crafar sale

6:15 pm on 17 October 2012

Two Maori trusts have lost their Supreme Court bid to challenge the sale of 16 farms formerly owned by the Crafar family.

The Tiroa E and the Te Hape B trusts are part of the south Waikato iwi Ngai Rereahu.

They were part of a group that had wanted to buy 16 mainly dairy farms, but lost out to a subsidiary of a Chinese company, Shanghai Pengxin.

The two trusts challenged approval of the sale in the Court of Appeal along with the merchant banker Sir Michael Fay, but lost decisively.

They then went to the Supreme Court, seeking leave to appeal, but it has ruled against that.

Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson says the decision is pleasing, because it allows Shanghai Pengxin to go ahead and transfer funds from China to complete the farm purchase.

The chief executive of Landcorp, Chris Kelly, says it is a relief it can finally begin work on the farms, which it will manage for their new owner.

Shanghai Pengxin has agreed to spend about $15.5 million on the farms - money Mr Kelly says will be used to improve the general standard of the properties.