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National’s meaningless farm sales criteria

While John Key claimed to be tightening up overseas farm sales Bill English was quietly defining ‘large farms’ that would be subject to overseas investment restrictions as being ten times the size of an average farm, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.

“Bill English issued a new ministerial directive to the OIO in December 2010 telling it to consider ‘large farms’, to be at least ten times the size of an average farm.

“This directive was issued at the same time National pretended it was tightening up the criteria for overseas sales of farmland.

“That was weasel wording. Those are massive farms and any New Zealander would agree.

“No sale of rural farm land has been stopped under the new directive. Not a single farm. That’s because the criteria, including redefining the term ‘large’, was so loose as to be meaningless.

“Around the same time as John Key was reassuring New Zealanders that he didn’t want to see ‘very large tracts of land’ sold off, his government was implicitly giving the green light to sales of giant farms.

“He never told Kiwis that the definition of large was being stretched beyond belief.

“National knows Kiwis are extremely concerned about their farmland being sold overseas but has no intention of stopping it. Instead John Key and Bill English are using dodgy definitions to falsely reassure New Zealanders.

“National promised to fix this four years ago and here we go again. Labour will fix it once and for all. In a nutshell no farms to foreigners,” David Parker says.