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New Zealand PM Key defends Crafar farm sale

PRIME Minister John Key says all the Chinese ever wanted in the deal to buy 16 farms from receivers was to be treated the same as other investors.

 
 

PRIME Minister John Key says all the Chinese ever wanted in the deal to buy 16 farms from receivers was to be treated the same as other investors.

Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson and Associate Finance Minister Jonathan Coleman announced on Friday they had approved the new recommendation of the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) to grant consent to Shanghai Pengxin subsidiary Milk New Zealand Holding Ltd to acquire 16 farms formerly owned by the Crafar family.

Leaders of the Greens, NZ First and Labour have all hit back over the deal, saying it should not go ahead.

“This is what the Chinese were expecting and that is to be treated fairly and the same,” Mr Key said on TVNZ’s Closeup program.

“So if this deal is a yes for an Australian buyer or a yes for an American buyer then it should be a yes for a Chinese buyer,” he said.

“In the end I think it is a pretty good deal for all parties. It is good for New Zealand,” he said.

Receivers KordaMentha said the sale had been a long process and Pengxin International Group Ltd’s offer was by far the best received.

Dr Coleman said the consent came with 27 conditions.

The conditions require Milk New Zealand to invest $NZ16 million ($A12.70 million) into the farms and to protect and enhance heritage sites.

“The combined effect of the benefits being delivered to New Zealand as a result of this transaction is substantial,” Dr Coleman said.

Shanghai Pengxin is reported to have offered $NZ210 million ($A166.73 million) for the 16 North Island dairy farms.

The OIO approved the sale earlier this year but a rival New Zealand-based bidder successfully sought a judicial review of the decision.

 
 

 
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