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.
“John Key claims the amount of land approved for overseas sale under his government is small, but 10,000 square kms is 16 times the size of Lake Taupō, 3.5 times the size of Samoa, the equivalent of two Auckland super-cities, six Stewart Islands, the Taranaki region, Wellington and Wairarapa combined, or the Tasman region.
“It’s 500 rugby fields a day since National came to power. That’s a lot of land.
“That’s why National refuses to measure the total number of homes sold offshore or the exact amount of rural land being sold to overseas corporates. They refuse to be upfront with New Zealanders as they know Kiwis will be shocked at the scale of sales. Labour will reveal the full amount of overseas ownership in New Zealand when in Government.
“These sales are locking the country into a vicious cycle. With profits and wealth from land going offshore we do not pay our way in the world, our exchange rate is over-inflated and our interest rates are structurally higher. That makes it harder for local investors to buy Kiwi land, which means more land gets sold overseas making us poorer and less able to pay our way in the world.
“The cycle gets worse and worse. With home ownership at the lowest rate in 60 years and dropping, we need to keep New Zealand homes for Kiwis too.
“National promised to fix this four years ago and here we go again. Labour will fix it once and for all. If you have the right to live in New Zealand, you can buy land in New Zealand. In a nutshell no farms to foreigners,” David Parker says.
11 August 2014 MEDIA STATEMENT