Saturday, December 2, 2023

Another 9000ha goes to forests

Neal Wallace
The Government has in the last three months approved the sale of nearly 9000ha of North Island pasture to foreign buyers for conversion to forestry.
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In that period the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has granted approval for the sale of six livestock farms in Wairarapa, Hawke’s Bay and Northland, which meet the Government’s special overseas investor threshold and can be converted to forestry.

The Government set the threshold for land sales to foreign forestry investors lower than for land farmed for livestock or horticulture, saying it reflects the dominance of foreign-owned forestry companies investing here.

It has since announced a review of those settings because of an uproar among rural communities at the volume of livestock land being sold to foreign forestry companies and the associated loss of rural jobs and the impact on communities and services.

In its August decisions the OIO approved the sale of the 1000ha Masterton property known as Bushgrove and Glentarn Station by Roger Dickie Developments to Austrian company Johannes Trauttmansdorff-Weinsberg for $4.2 million.

The new owner has already planted 121ha of pines and is planting a further 548ha.

It plans to subdivide land not required for forestry and to harvest the trees in 2044.

The OIO has also approved the sale of Whaitirinui Farm, a 736ha Wairoa property, to the Gemmingen-Hornberg family from Germany, trading as Grandy Lake Forest. The price was $6.7m.

The new owner has been investing in NZ forestry for 18 years and own a forestry block new to the farm it has just purchased.

It intends planting 496ha in commercial forestry while retaining a block of trees planted before 1990 and a 48ha stand of poplar and willow.

In July the OIO approved the $5.5mi sale of a 710ha farm in Wairoa to Te Au from Singapore, of which 460ha will be planted in forestry and the rest left as native bush or subdivided.

It also approved the purchase by Swiss-German company, Kauri Forestry, of a 4273ha South Wairarapa dry stock property.

The farm already has 1341ha of forestry and the new owner plans to subdivide and sell 594ha, including all or most of the six dwellings, and plant 2600ha in pines.

In June Kauri Forestry was given approval to buy the 1876ha dry stock property, Moerewa Station in Northland, which had 251ha of existing forestry.

The buyer intends subdividing 275ha of flat land with dwellings and plant the remaining 1175ha in pines. 

And in June Norsewood Estate, which has Australian links, bought 373ha at Ruakokoputuna, South Wairarapa, to plant in forestry.

A reason Norsewood gave for being granted approval was for the advancement of the Government’s Billion Trees Programme.

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