Friday, April 13, 2012

Gerry Eckhoff: The "H" word

The “H” word is not allowed to be used in (parliamentary) debate nor does it seem by the mainstream media when the great asset sale debate is engaged.

I have a few questions for those opposed to asset sales. Would any of you folk be able to confirm that Ngai Tahu have recently sold a large forestry block (18,251 hectares) to a Swiss company. This sale represents the largest area of NZ land sold to “foreign devils” in recent times. Now I understand Maoridom strongly opposes the Government selling off assets. So how does that work? 

Why is it OK for the indigenous people to flog off assets but not OK for the representatives of the people to sell off assets? Isn’t that called hypocrisy? Isn’t that a case of do as I say and not as I do.

 I have asked that question through the local media of Maoridom who choose not to respond.

Does asking these questions make me racist? Well actually people - in the immortal words of Rhett Butler - I don’t give a dam.

Question : In light of this sale;  what price the foreshore and sea bed if ownership changes to Maori?

The sale and purchase of assets is something we all do to a greater or lesser extent and is accepted as a normal part of commerce.

When our Government proposes to do something similar (albeit on a larger scale), it seems as though the sovereignty of our country is up for grabs by rapacious overseas investors.

Strangely enough the reverse does not seem to apply when our companies invest in overseas assets. Fonterra, as an obvious example trades assets all over the world.

As a member of a share club, I /we hold a small number of shares in Port of Tauraunga which is 53% owned by the local council. The balance, I assume by a mixture of ordinary NZ investors and investment funds etc.  

So just remind me again where the problem is?

Gerry is a member of the Otago Regional Council, a former MP and High Country sheep and beef farmer.


Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more, Gerry. BTW, Rhett Butler would have spelled the word d-a-m-n! :-)

Anonymous said...

Ngai Tahu forest sale to Swiss approved by OIO
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04 Oct 2011

The Overseas Investment Office approved the sale of 22,000 hectares of land to foreigners in August, most of it for forest development. In the biggest deal, a Swiss family-owned company, Corisol New Zealand, was cleared to buy more than 18,000 hectares of forestry land in Canterbury from Ngai Tahu Forest Estates for $22.9 million.

The land is at Ashley Downs, Hanmer, Mt Thomas, Okuku, Omihi and Oxford.

Ngai Tahu told the OIO it was selling the forest blocks as part of a change in its investment strategy. The iwi decided last year to seek offers for seven lowland forest blocks, on which offshore-owned Matariki Forests owns the trees and cutting rights and pays $1 million a year in land rent.

Ngai Tahu is generally following a strategy of diversifying its holdings to strengthen its financial footing. It has property, seafood, tourism, and forestry assets and investments in other companies.

The blocks of land are all in the Canterbury foothills north of the Waimakariri River at Ashley, Ashley Downs, Hanmer, Mt Thomas, Okuku, Omihi and Oxford. Ngai Tahu will continue to manage the property on behalf of the Swiss-family group.

Based in Christchurch, Ngai Tahu Holdings is the commercial arm of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu which has more than 45,000 tribal members. In the North Island, the Waikato-Tainui iwi has previously denounced foreign land sales, partly for cultural and spiritual reasons.

The OIO has also approved the sale of almost 900 ha at Strathblane station near Gisborne to another Swiss investor, Middle Mount Ltd. Middle Mount wants the land to compensate for grazing land it will lose when it establishes a forest plantation on neighbouring Avondale station, which it already owns.

A Canadian couple who own a forestry block at Tolaga Bay have been cleared to purchase almost 300 ha of land at neighbouring Raroa station to plant another block.

So far this year, the OIO has approved the sale of more than 112,000 ha of land to foreign interests compared with 89,000 ha for the same period last year.

Sources: Radio New Zealand and Stuff.

Anonymous said...

So now the poor old NZ taxpayer will be paying huge subsidies to Swiss forest owners under the totally useless ETS scheme!
Please can the media stop referring to John Key as a businessman - he is not even smart, and no politician or media outlet will listen to arguments against the lies of the climate warmists!