Saturday, December 2, 2023

Foreign sales of 2000-plus hectares get nod

Neal Wallace
Four farms sold to forestry sneak in prior to government changing the assessment criteria.
If New Zealand has to rely on good farmland being planted in exotics to achieve our climate target we’re in dire straits, Alan Emerson says.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Four more farms have been sold to foreign buyers for conversion to forestry, their applications lodged prior to the government changing the assessment criteria.

The four sheep and beef farms, in South Canterbury, South Otago, Tairāwhiti and Northland, cover 2200ha and were assessed under the Overseas Investment Office’s (OIO) special one-off forestry test.

The government has since tightened the assessment criteria for foreign investors, who must demonstrate that the sale is in the national interest, the same as for farm purchases.

Netherlands-based Ingka Investments has been given approval to buy a 954ha sheep, beef and deer farm at Tiniroto near Gisborne, of which it plans to plant 688ha in forestry.

Of the balance, they intend to subdivide and sell on 40ha on which there are two homes and curtilage, with the remainder native bush, buffer land, setbacks, riparian areas, roads and tracks.

The OIO assessment states that all but 13ha is land use class six or seven.

A 632ha Northland beef farm has been sold to Europe-based Kauri Forestry.

Part of the property at Pukehuia will be subdivided before Kauri Forestry acquires it, but 420ha will be planted in trees.

The OIO sates that 328ha is land use class four and 255ha class six.

United States-based Port Blakely has been granted approval to buy a 432ha sheep and beef farm at Waihaorunga near Waimate.

The new block already has 79ha of forestry and adjoins an existing 1785ha commercial forest operated by Port Blakely.

It plans to plant 312ha in forestry and subdivide and sell 14ha, which has a house and curtilage.

The land is predominantly land use class four, 333ha, and six, 94ha.

Wenita Forest Products has bought 186ha near Balclutha in South Otago, half of which is already in forestry and the rest is farmland.

Similarly Kākāpō Estate has bought 87ha next Timaru, of which 79ha is forestry or ready to be planted.

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