28 Feb 2012

Land trusts take legal action over sale of Crafar farms

7:30 am on 28 February 2012

Two King Country land trusts are taking legal action against two Government agencies over the sale of the Crafar farms as they say it goes against partnership principles in the Treaty of Waitangi.

Tiroa E and Te Hape B Trusts were part of the Crafar Farms Purchase Group which sought a judicial review to prevent the farms being sold to Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin and to have its own bid accepted.

The trusts' Chairman Hardie Peni says they have tried a gentle approach with the Crown but it seems the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) is not taking on board the High Court ruling, and is in denial.

He says there appears to be a major conflict of interest with a state-owned enterprise going against a local iwi.

Mr Peni says in his view the OIO's offer to the Chinese lacks transparency, and there has been no communication with other Government departments or the trusts.

He hopes legal proceedings can be filed by Wednesday.