April 2000 decisions

This is one of the quietest months on record – only nine decisions, of which one was suppressed almost in its entirety. All are related to land sales, and would not otherwise have required approval by the OIC.

Garondale Station at Peel Forest, South Canterbury, sold to Canadians

T.R.D. and M.H. Harpur of Canada have approval to acquire the 2,228 hectare Garondale Station, RD 20, Peel Forest, South Canterbury, for $2,474,998 from Garondale Station Ltd of Aotearoa.

The station is currently used mainly for sheep and cattle farming. The Harpurs intend to develop a 1,400 hectare Douglas Fir forest on the property, They are already partners in a deer breeding business based at the nearby Peel Forest Estate. Garondale’s farming operation “while to be maintained at a reduced level”, will provide “an extension” of the Harpurs’ “existing New Zealand farming interests”. However, it will either be share stocked with the Harpurs’ business partner, or leased to a neighbour. (We can find no record of previous purchases by the Harpurs being approved by the OIC since December 1989.)

Tiong firm, Neil Construction, buys Albany land for development

Neil Construction Ltd, owned by Neil Holdings Ltd, itself owned by the powerful Tiong Family of Malaysia, has approval to acquire two hectares of land at Schnapper Rock Road, Albany, Auckland for $1,350,000. It will be used for housing development. The last such purchase by Neil Construction was in November 1999.

Land for forestry

     The New Zealand Forestry Group Ltd, which is owned 76% by Wesley Garratt of Aotearoa and 24% by J. Hong of Taiwan, has sold further land (28 hectares for $67,545) at Junction Road/Rangitatau East Road, Wanganui, this time to the Wang and Cheng Family Trust, of Taiwan. As usual, the buyers are members of the Paparangi Forest Owners Association, which “has entered into an arrangement with New Zealand Forestry Group to develop approximately 394 hectares of land near Wanganui”. In the last such transaction by New Zealand Forestry Group, in March 2000, the same Trust received approval to acquire 26 hectares for $55,695. It is owned equally by Huan-Nan Cheng, Gern-Yao Wang, Wen-Lei Wang, and Wen-Ting Wang of Taiwan.

     Nelson Pine Forest Products Company (owned by Weyerhaeuser Company of the U.S.A.) and RII New Zealand Forests I, Inc of the U.S.A., have approval to acquire four hectares of land at Mahers Road, Kaituna, Marlborough for $393,750. The land adjoins McVicars Mill, which the joint venture received approval to purchase in February 2000, and will be used to upgrade and expand the mill.

     Craigpine Timber Ltd of Australia has approval to acquire 424 hectares of land at Fox Road, RD1, Wyndham, Southland for $1,080,000 in order to establish a commercial forestry operation on the property. Craigpine has “in excess of 2,500 hectares of timber plantations in the region”. It also has a sawmill at Winton. This property adjoins one of 590 hectares at Fortification, purchased in May 1999 from Hillfort Company Ltd. In May 1999, the OIC described Craigpine as being 49.5% owned by Donaghy’s Ltd of Aotearoa and 50.5% by members of the Black family of Australia, the U.K. and Aotearoa. That appears to have changed, because now the Black family own 31.7% (N.M.G. Black 1980 Settlement Trust – Graeme Fund, of Australia, 15.7%; Q. J. S. Black, Australia, 4.9%; M.C. Atkinson, Aotearoa, 4.9%; N.M. Guest, U.K., 4.9%; and G.L.S. Black, Australia, 1.3%); and 37.3% is owned by the Australian Public (i.e. listed on the Australian Stock Exchange), 10.8% by the Callon family of Aotearoa (R.A. Callon, J.E. Callon, and the Callon Family Trust, R.A. Callon being a Donaghy’s executive), 10.1% by the New Zealand Public, and 6.3% is owned by the U.K. Public, 64.4% in all, presumably all Donaghy’s shareholders. In addition, Pencarrow Funds Management Ltd of Aotearoa, whose allegiance is not clear, owns 3.9%. In all, Craigpine is 70.4% overseas owned.

Other rural land sales

     Christopher Moore Miller of the U.S.A., has approval to acquire a further 0.42 hectares of land at North Cove, Kawau Island, Auckland for $85,000. In January 2000 he was given approval to acquire three hectares (2.9303 hectares to be precise) of land at North Cove for $750,000 as a “lifestyle property”. He was then “currently applying for New Zealand permanent residency under the General Skills category. Mr Miller proposes to relocate his software development business from the United States to New Zealand and intends to reside on the property.” The OIC now tells us that “part of the rationale relating to the original purchase was to ensure the protection and further development of the conservation aspects of the property and in particular the areas of native bush contained on the property”. The additional 0.4 hectares is “for the purposes of conservation” and he “has no intention of constructing a dwelling or any ancillary buildings” on it.

     J. F. Burt of the U.K. has approval to acquire four hectares of land at Winchester, South Canterbury for $60,000 from the Bisdee Family of Aotearoa. It will be used for crop farming and will be leased to Rusper Farm Lands Ltd, which belongs to a local farmer. Rusper Farm Lands already leases an adjoining 176 hectares which is owned by Ms Burt “partly as executrix of her late mother’s estate and partly herself”.

     Aurora Vineyard Ltd, which is owned equally by A.K. Dudek of Aotearoa, A.T. Jackson of Aotearoa, I. Scott of Singapore, and M.A. Joiner of U.S.A., has approval to acquire 19 hectares of land at Loop Road, off State Highway 8, between Tarras and Cromwell, Central Otago, for $304,824. They intend “to develop the land as a self sufficient vineyard specialising in high quality Pinot Noir and Riesling wines. It is proposed that a total vineyard area of 15 hectares will be developed over the next three-to-five years.” They also intend to establish a winery and restaurant on the property. The vendors are J. and H. Perriam, prominent merino sheep farmers, who have previously figured in OIC decisions – in September 1993 buying the 9,110 hectare Otamatapaio sheep station near Omarama, North Otago in equal thirds with an Italian company, Reda SPA, and an Australian wool exporter, Lempriere (Australia) Pty Ltd; and in April 1999, with the same partners, buying the 12,684 hectare Rugged Ridges Station at Kurow Road, Otamatata, Otago.