Fifty new jobs for Southland and a guaranteed supply chain into China for sheep and beef farmers have been secured in the latest in a series of Chinese investments in the New Zealand primary sector.
Lianhua Trading Group has increased its shareholding in Prime Range Meats in Invercargill to 75 percent from 24.9 percent, with the creation of 50 new jobs at the original Southland abattoir and meat processing plant.
Prime Range Meats' new director and Lianhua adviser, Rick Braddock, said today that Lianhua is getting a guaranteed supply chain for its retail brand in China.
"The controlling shareholding was seen as necessary because Lianhua are investing in a retail branding strategy in China. Security of supply of product ... by investing in a retail brand you'll appreciate is really important," he said.
"So we see this is quite significant for New Zealand because this is the first time that there is absolute security of supply provided to a Chinese entity prepared to invest in a retail brand. And I want to stress retail brand, as opposed to wholesale brand in China."
Mr Braddock believed this type and level of investment should be embraced.
"At a time when we've seen some significant change in the dairy industry, where the likes of Shanghai Pengxin, Bright Dairy, Yili and Yashili have now entered the market and are building plants for infant formula, UHT and their own products, that it seems a very positive thing for New Zealand.
"Particularly in those more isolated areas, non-city areas, where New Zealand is desperately in need of employment opportunities and capital investment. I think what we're starting to see in the red meat sector is something similar.
"At a time when both the farming community and the meat processing community are under-capitalised and over-banked by Australian banks, any inflow of equity into a business that provides job opportunities and more aligns New Zealand's farm gate products with a retail consumer-based market is a positive thing."