25 Nov 2011

Merits of family farm model debated at meeting

1:43 pm on 25 November 2011

A mid-Canterbury farmer representative says the family farm model is under threat as high land values attract foreign investment in New Zealand pastoral land.

Farm ownership was high on the agenda at Federated Farmers national council meeting in Wellington last week.

The meeting was told it is unclear how many farms are in foreign ownership because the Overseas Investment Office only began collecting those statistics in 2002.

But in the past 10 years, 2% of pastoral sector land has been sold to buyers from overseas.

David Clark, a grain and seed farmer, says family-owned farms add value to the New Zealand economy and are worth fighting for.

Federated Farmers vice-president Dr William Rolleston says he is not personally happy in having overseas corporations buying New Zealand farms but says people need to be careful not to be too draconian.