Land Curbs Meddlesome Monday, Nov 10, 2003
Government curbs on foreign investment will scare away badly-needed foreign investment and undermine New Zealand's economy, says Tom Lambie, President, Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).
Mr Lambie was responding to the government's reported plan to clamp down on the sale of land to foreigners. The Labour Party annual conference passed a remit calling for Overseas Investment Commission rules to be strengthened to place greater emphasis on the social and cultural impact of land sales.
"Foreign investment is good for New Zealand -- it brings in new skills, delivers much-needed investment, and creates jobs," said Mr Lambie.
"Many of our major companies are foreign owned and indeed much of New Zealand's economy was built on foreign money."
About 75 percent of wine produced in New Zealand is made by foreign-owned companies, helping create new investment in grape-growing regions.
"Whether the new owner lives offshore or here, people buy property for the same reason: to add value and get a return on their investment. Individuals determine good investment, not the government through meddlesome policies," he said.
"By curbing foreign investment, the government is trying to force sellers to take a lower price. But no rational landowner will want to take less than what their land is worth.
"There are already restrictions on land development through landscape and biodiversity constraints. This latest plan is yet another attempt by government to stomp over the rights of private landowners," Mr Lambie said