7 Oct 2010

Foreign investment survey

6:10 am on 7 October 2010

A survey on foreign investment has found that more New Zealanders would support overseas investment in farmland if it increased domestic employment and benefitted the economy.

The random phone survey of 1000 people was commissioned by Natural Dairy Holdings, a Hong-Kong based company that is trying to buy the 16 North Island Crafar farms currently in receivership.

It found that 65% of those surveyed thought farms should be sold only to New Zealand residents.

But more than half also said the buyer's country of origin wouldn't matter, if they employed only New Zealand workers, and paid tax here.

The poll also found that more than 40% of those surveyed would be extremely uncomfortable with farmland being sold to Chinese buyers, compared with nearly a fifth opposing sales to Australians and almost a quarter against selling to British interests.

Younger New Zealanders and rural dwellers were more receptive to constructive foreign investment in farmland. The strongest opposition came from older people living in urban areas.