June 2000 decisions

Two refusals

Two applications were refused this month. In both cases a factor for the refusal was that they were not contributing sufficient capital.

In the first, John Herrick of the U.S.A. was refused approval to acquire land in the Nelson/Marlborough area. The details of the land and the price have been suppressed. He intended to "acquire the land primarily as a lifestyle property and proposed to construct a house on the property. It was proposed that the applicant would reside on the property for approximately six months each year. In addition it was proposed to plant approximately eight hectares in Pinus Radiata." The application failed because it did not meet the policy for purchasing lifestyle properties, which requires the applicant either to take up permanent residency within 12 months or to undertake significant development of the property and convert it into a viable investment property. Herrick had no intention of seeking permanent residency and was investing only $42,000 over ten years in the proposed forestry development. That did not equate to "significant development".

In the second, Ponga Property Holding Ltd owned by S.J. and L.S. Hansen of Denmark had applied to buy land in the Auckland area. They "proposed to create a unique experience for overseas tourists on the property, the developments being completed over a period of ten years. The property was to be developed to provide horseback riding experiences for both tourists and New Zealanders." However, "the Commission was not satisfied that the possibility that one job might be created and that only $40,000 of capital for development purposes would be introduced into New Zealand was sufficient for the proposal to be in the national interest. The proposal seemed more akin to the property being acquired for lifestyle purposes. Such applications are usually refused."

It is refreshing to see some critical faculties being brought to bear at last on such claims.

Resource consents force Juken Nissho to buy more land for its Kaitaia mills

Juken Nissho Ltd, which is owned 85% by Juken Sangyo Company Ltd and 15% by Nissho Iwai Corporation, both of Japan, has approval to acquire a further block of land to add to add to 148 hectares it had had approved for purchase in March 2000 (see our commentary of that month). This block is three hectares at Hillcrest Road, Kaitaia, Northland, purchased for $380,000. The 148 hectare block adjoined its manufacturing operation and was to be used to build a veneer mill and solid wood mill, which were to be operating by the end of the year with full production by the end of 2002. "Due to various resource management consent issues relating to the proposed development of the processing facilities, it has become necessary to acquire the property the subject of this application."

Murchison forestry land sold to U.S. by manager

W.F. Pate of the U.S.A. has approval to acquire 59 hectares of land at Matakitaki Road, Murchison, Nelson for $67,500. The vendor, Peter Grant Badcock, acts as trustee and manager for Pate. Ten hectares are already planted in Pinus Radiata seedlings. The remaining land, which is unproductive scrub, will be planted in the same way.

CDL Land buys ten hectares in Browns Bay, Auckland for subdivision

CDL Land New Zealand Ltd of Singapore has approval to acquire two blocks of land at Browns Bay, Auckland that will be subdivided into "more than 118 residential sections" over the next three years. The two blocks are

4.1 hectares at 1004A East Coast Bays Road;
5.7 hectares at 982A East Coast Bays Road.

The prices of both have been suppressed.

The OIC records CDL Land as being owned 59.3% in New Zealand, 21.1% by the Hong Leong Group of Singapore, and 19.5% by other shareholders in Singapore. However the annual report of CDL Hotels New Zealand Ltd records CDL Land as being a 100% subsidiary of CDL Investments New Zealand Ltd, itself a 58.43% subsidiary of CDL Hotels New Zealand Ltd. CDL Hotels New Zealand Ltd owns the largest hotel chain in Aotearoa and its largest shareholder is Millennium and Copthorne Plc, a 52.4% subsidiary of CDL Hotels International Ltd, which is the Hong Leong Group’s principal hotel investment company.

Danish doctor buys Highden Manor, Palmerston North, for health facility

Humlegaarden Ltd, owned by Dr Finn Scott Andersen of Denmark, has approval to acquire 15 hectares at Highden Manor, Green Road, Palmerton North, Manawatu for $1,462,500. "Dr Andersen operates a complementary cancer care and educational facility in Denmark. Dr Andersen intends to establish a similar type of operation in New Zealand offering health care services of a hospice/complementary cancer care nature." It will also include an "education centre" and is modelled on his Denmark operations, which he has run since 1979.

More land for Martha Mine, Waihi

Waihi Gold Company Nominees Ltd has approval to acquire two more blocks of land in Waihi, Coromandel as a buffer to the extension of its mine. They are

0.10 hectares at 12 Selvin Street, Waihi for $110,216;
1.30 hectares at 20 Grey Street, Waihi for $275,150.

Waihi Gold is owned 67.06% by Normandy Mining Ltd, listed in Australia, and 32.94% by AUAG Resources Limited. The OIC shows the AUAG ownership as exactly half each Australian and New Zealand public. The last such acquisition was in March 2000.

"The company is proceeding with an extension to the Martha Mine that will have the effect of extending the life of the mine for about an additional seven years. This extension involves enabling access to be obtained to ore below the level of the currently licensed pit. To reach this ore it is necessary to bench back (or extend) the perimeter of the existing pit, and the additional land is required for this, and to provide a sufficient buffer between the extended mine and surrounding residential uses. Previous consents have been granted by the Commission for the acquisition of such land. The land the subject of this application is directly adjacent to the extended Martha Hill mine licence area, and will be required as a buffer for the extended project."

Poronui Station owner buys Irongate Vineyard in Hawkes Bay

Blake Family Vineyard Ltd owned by Mark Blake of the U.S.A. has approval to acquire 9.8 hectares at Irongate Vineyard, Gimblett Road, Hawkes Bay for $1,350,000 from Hastings Vineyard Ltd.

Blake intends to

"utilise the grapes grown at the Vineyard to produce its own branded lines of premium wine for use in the world class sporting facility known as Poronui Ranch located near Taupo. Poronui Ranch is owned and operated by Poronui Station Ltd, and is controlled by Mark Blake, the sole shareholder of Blake Family Vineyard Ltd. The company will continue to provide premium grapes to Trinity Hill Ltd under contract for use in Trinity Hill’s own labelled premium wines."

Blake also hopes to export the wine.

The purchase of the 6,334 hectare Poronui Station (now "Poronui Ranch") from Carter Holt Harvey for $7,000,000 was approved by the OIC in June 1998 (see our commentary for that month). It was purchased through Poronui Station Ltd, owned by Mark Christopher Blake (56%), Wendy Margarete Blake (33%) and Todd Austin Blake (11%), all residents of San Francisco. The station had been used for commercial deer hunting and trout fishing operations, and local anglers were upset at the purchase.

Lilybank Station owner buys another farm

Lilybank New Zealand Ltd (formerly NZ Trophy Guide Service Ltd) owned by L.Y.A. Poh of Singapore, which owns the controversial Lilybank Station, has approval to acquire a second farm in Central Otago. The new acquisition is the 164 hectare "Sunnyvale", at State Highway 8, Ettrick/Raes Junction, Millers Flat, at a price of $675,000. In February 2000, Poh received approval to acquire the 279 hectare Willows deer farm in the same location. The OIC says that

"the property will compliment the Applicant’s existing properties, Lilybank Station at Lake Tekapo and the "Willows" at Millers Flat. These farms concentrate on breeding high quality deer meat and genetics for export. The acquisition will allow the applicant to obtain economies of scale for its deer farming operation which is primarily geared for exporting deer meat and velvet to Asia."

Poh reportedly bought Tommy Suharto’s (Hutomo Mandala Putra) 95% share of Lilybank for $1 in September 1999, though Suharto was still the registered owner of the shares at October 2000.

Telecom leases Waiheke Island land for cellphone site

Telecom New Zealand Ltd has approval to acquire a 0.0052 hectare leasehold at Oneroa, Waiheke Island, Auckland for a suppressed amount, in order to expand its cellular network on the island.

Telecom is recorded as being 70.05% overseas owned, including 24.94% by Bell Atlantic Holdings Ltd of the U.S.A., which have announced that they were selling out, and 6.45% by The Capital Group Companies Inc of the U.S.A. In all, the shareholding is made up as follows:

24.94% Bell Atlantic Holdings Ltd (U.S.A.)
6.45% The Capital Group Companies Inc (U.S.A.)
16% U.S. public listings
10% U.K. public listings
7% Australian public listings
5.66% persons who may be "overseas persons"
29.95% New Zealand public listings

So at least 47.39% is owned in the U.S.A., 29.95% in Aotearoa, 10% in the U.K. and 7% in Australia.

Other rural land sales

  • Evill Lawson Partnership which is owned 70% by T.J. and P. Evill of Singapore, and 30% by R. and B. Lawson of Aotearoa, has approval to acquire two blocks of land in Marlborough for viticulture. The first is eight hectares in Chaytors Road, Marshlands, for $343,406, and the second is 23 hectares in Waihopai Valley Road, for $774,998. The partnership "has already invested significant capital in the Marlborough region, in both the hospitality and winemaking sectors. These investments include an eight hectare vineyard and winery in Chaytors Lane, Blenheim, known as Lawsons Dry Hills Winery". These new pieces of land are "likely to increase the production capabilities" of Lawsons. We have no record of these previous investments.
  • Corbans Wines Ltd, a subsidiary of the DB Group Ltd, owned 74.98% by Asia Pacific Breweries, has approval to acquire 78 hectares at 28 Kings Road, Waipara, RD 3, Amberley, Canterbury, for $2,021,625. The purpose is to assist in providing a secure supply of grapes for wine production. Only five hectares are currently in vines; the rest is used for sheep farming. Asia Pacific Breweries is 40% owned by Heineken NV of the Netherlands and 40% by Fraser, Neave Ltd of Singapore. The remaining 20% is in small shareholdings in Singapore. In September 2000, DB sold Corbans to Montana Wines (28% owned by Lion Nathan of Japan).
  • Ealing Pastures Joint Venture, 50% owned by G.L. and F.M. Holman of Australia, and 25% each by two New Zealand couples, has approval to acquire 1,284 hectares at Ealing/Montalto Road, RD 3, Ashburton, Canterbury for $7,425,000 from Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation of Aotearoa. It is currently a sheep and beef farming operation, of which 700 hectares will be converted to dairying "once the existing moratorium on the conversion of land to dairying is lifted in September of this year by New Zealand Co-op Dairy Co Ltd". They intend to establish five dairy units on the area over a period of five years, and will border dyke the 25% of the land that is unirrigated.
  • Sheredan Family Trust of Ireland has approval to acquire a 297 hectare dairy farm at Edendale Road, Edendale, Southland for $3,550,001. The new owners intend to increase the production of the farm and construct a rotary cowshed, shelter belts and re-fencing.
  • In an almost identical application to the Sheredan one, uncoincidentally represented by the same firm, Evans Henderson Woodbridge, of Marton, the Clinton Family Trust of Ireland has approval to acquire a 387 hectare farm at Brown Road, North Makarewa, Southland, for $8,321,625. The new owners intend to increase the production of the farm and construct a rotary cowshed, new milking machinery and re-fencing.