15 Oct 2012

Trusts consider withdrawing Crafar court action

7:26 pm on 15 October 2012

Two Maori trusts which have applied to the Supreme Court for leave to appeal the sale of 16 North Island farms to a Chinese-owned company say they are are willing to consider withdrawing court action.

The Tiroa E and Te Hape B Trusts, of the South Waikato iwi Ngati Rereahu, were part of a farming consortium led by Sir Michael Fay which lost a court battle against the Government allowing Shanghai Pengxin to buy the Crafar farms.

Hardie Peni, who chairs the Trusts, says they have been fighting for some time to take ownership of two King Country farms which contain wahi tapu (sacred sites).

He says the Trusts have had some discussions with Shanghai Pengxin, but can't divulge any details.

However, Mr Peni says the Trusts have always been keen to recover their traditional whenua.

He says if Shanghai Pengxin is willing to sell the farms at a reasonable price, then the iwi will have achieved its objective and would be willing to stop court action.

Meanwhile, Shanghai Pengxin spokesman Cedric Allen says the company is happy to have more talks with the iwi at any time about the sale of the two farms near Bennydale. He says there have already been some discussions, but nothing was resolved.

Mr Allen says Shanghai Pengxin spent 18 months buying the 16 Crafar farms which were in receivership and doesn't feel under any pressure to sell two of them just because the Trusts plan to take court action.

He says in a previous negotiations Shanghai Pengxin offered to sell the two farms to the iwi for $66 million, but the offer was rejected.