Nats sold 500 rugby fields of land a day offshore

Under National over one million hectares of land has been approved for overseas sale – 16 times the size of Lake Taupō or the equivalent of five hundred rugby fields a day, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.

“According to the Overseas Investment Office’s records, 1,002,591 hectares of land (10,000 square km) has been approved for sale to wholly and partially controlled overseas interests since John Key took office.

“Half of these land sale approvals (497,842 ha) occurred since John Key promised a ‘crack down’ on the sale of sensitive land to overseas interests.

“We know now that this ‘crack down’ was nothing but a crock. At the same time Bill English was sending a tricky side letter to the OIO defining ‘large’ farms as ten times the size of an average farm, a definition so big as to be meaningless.
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Joyce’s dodgy sums fool no-one

Steven Joyce’s attempt to attack Labour’s positive plan for affordable healthcare will fool no-one.
“We knew that National would try to say that we can’t afford free GP visits and prescriptions for the New Zealanders who need it. But, as David Cunliffe said in his speech today:
‘It’s budgeted, it’s paid for, it’s there in black and white. So when our opponents try to claim that we can’t afford better healthcare for New Zealanders – and they’ll try – they won’t be being honest with the public.’
Mr Joyce has tried every trick in the book in his shoddy attack.
First off, he ignores the fact that National allocated $15 billion of new spending over the next four years in Budget 2014. The difference between Labour and National is we’ve said how much we’ll allocate and how much we will use to reduce debt – National hasn’t.
Mr Joyce has counted over two billion dollars in tax cuts as spending.
Mr Joyce failed to count the half a billion dollars in savings we’ll realise by cancelling bad National policies.
Mr Joyce failed to count the $4 billion in extra revenue.
Mr Joyce’s claims are riddled with what are either amateurish mistakes or intentional errors intended to mislead.
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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.
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Labour will keep Kiwi land in Kiwi hands

The next Labour Government will keep rural and residential land in Kiwi hands, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.
“New Zealanders are sick of seeing their farms and homes sold to overseas buyers with the profits and opportunities going offshore. No overseas person has the right to buy our land.
“In all but the rarest of cases, sales of rural land to overseas buyers will be banned. Non-resident investors will also be banned from buying existing Kiwi homes.
“Changing who owns what already exists does nothing to increase New Zealand’s output. It just sells off New Zealand’s profit stream and kills off the Kiwi dream of owning our farms and homes.
“Labour will reverse the current approach so that overseas buyers of rural land will have to prove they will create more jobs and exports than any New Zealand investor. Given New Zealanders are among the best farmers in the world it is an extremely hard hurdle to get over.
“This will ensure our farms are not priced out of the reach of New Zealanders.
“We will also limit the discretion of the minister to ignore recommendations from the Overseas Investment Office.
“Labour will also restrict sales of residential homes to any non-residents unless they intend to move here, helping to keep the Kiwi home ownership dream alive, especially for young New Zealanders currently locked out of the housing market.
“The National Government is ignoring the legitimate concerns of New Zealanders about New Zealand land and houses being sold to overseas interests.
“Instead of accusing New Zealanders of being xenophobic, John Key and Steven Joyce should respect New Zealanders’ desire to keep New Zealand land in New Zealand hands,” David Parker says.
4 August 2014 MEDIA STATEMENT


Joyce’s bluster distraction from land sale double-speak

Steven Joyce’s accusation that Labour is xenophobic is a blatant attempt to hide National’s broken promise over land sales, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.

“The Economic Development Minister showed extreme rudeness when he talked over others during an interview on the Nation this weekend.

“Election time is a time for debating issues, rather than veiled accusations of racism.

“His belligerent blustering behaviour was designed to hide the fact National promised to tighten up on land sales at the time of the Crafar farm sales. But in reality it hasn’t.

“New Zealanders do not like this sort of double-speak from politicians, and Steven Joyce knows it.

“Labour changed our position on land sales to foreigners four years ago because we believe it is the birth right of New Zealanders – not others – to own our land and houses.

“National needs to answer the following questions:

· Is it xenophobic or racist to say land ownership in New Zealand is the birth right of New Zealanders, not others?

· Is it xenophobic or racist to worry about wealthy foreign buyers buying large tracts of New Zealand land?

· Is it xenophobic or racist to point out that the sale of our forests to overseas owners has resulted in more raw log exports, less processing, lower valued exports and fewer jobs in New Zealand?

· Is it xenophobic or racist to object to overseas ownership of our houses when home ownership is at its lowest rate in 50 years and still dropping?

· Is the Australian government xenophobic or racist to clamp down on house sales to foreigners?

· Is it xenophobic or racist for the Chinese government to stop New Zealanders buying their land?

· Is it xenophobic or racist to worry that New Zealand properties are increasingly being marketed overseas?

· Is it xenophobic or racist to say land should be priced so that New Zealanders can buy it, and not be outbid by wealthy overseas buyers?

“Labour has criticised the sale of farms and houses to American, European and Asian buyers. It is not racist or xenophobic to do so.

“Responsible governments act in the interests of all New Zealanders, not just the privileged few.

“Under Labour’s policy the proposed sale of Lochinver Station to overseas buyers would not proceed,” David Parker says.

3 August 2014 MEDIA STATEMENT


Interest rate rise will hit the regions

The latest interest rate rise will hit the fragile regional economies of New Zealand and hurt exporters by putting more upward pressure on the exchange rate, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker.

“The regions are already hit by dropping export prices for dairy products and timber prices plus they have flat housing markets from LVRs . Now they have to endure another interest rate rise which is a direct result of the Auckland housing price bubble.

““The Reserve Bank Governor has already said mortgage interest rates will get close to 7% by the end of the year, adding $233 to monthly costs on a $300,000 mortgage.
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KiwiSaver innovations needed to build wealth

The innovative changes to KiwiSaver suggested by the Financial Services Council today will be seriously considered by Labour as part of plans to make KiwiSaver universal, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.
“Universal KiwiSaver is an essential part of Labour’s plan to grow the wealth of New Zealand and create better jobs that pay higher wages.
“Currently young people are defaulted into conservative funds that invest mainly in bonds and cash rather than productive businesses. These also limit the amount young people can save for retirement.
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