Peter Graham Stembridge and Marceline Elma Rebecca Stembridge of the U.K. have been refused approval to acquire 5.0 hectares at 218 Flightys Road, Pauatahanui, Wellington for $345,000 from Sporthouse Family Trust.
According to the OIC,
The Applicants intend to apply for New Zealand permanent residency and relocate to New Zealand. They propose to acquire the subject lifestyle property located at Pauatahanui. The Applicants propose to construct a dwelling on the property for a permanent residence, and also intend to construct stabling facilities for horses they intend to breed on the property.
The proposal does not meet the lifestyle policy which requires an applicant:
(a) to be taking up New Zealand permanent residency with 12 months of the date of approval; or
(b) to be undertaking significant developments on the property and converting it from a lifestyle property into a viable investment property; or
(c) to have significant investments in New Zealand.
[Decision number 200310097.]
John Fairfax Holdings Limited of Australia has approval to acquire the print and publishing business, including the mastheads, of Independent Newspapers Limited (INL) and its wholly owned subsidiaries for $1,188,000,000.
In this purchase, Fairfax bought INL’s newspapers, leaving INL principally with Sky Television, of which it owns 66%. INL also owned other assets, which it proceeded to sell, but has made a full takeover bid for Sky TV.
The effect of the purchase is to change the duopoly in the ownership of the principal newspapers in Aotearoa from Murdoch/O’Reilly to Fairfax/O’Reilly. Irish magnate Tony O’Reilly controls Independent News and Media (INM), which in turn controls APN News and Media (ANM) of Australia, which owns Wilson and Horton, and a substantial share of The New Zealand Radio Network.
In 2003, INL newspapers had nearly half (47.4%) of the audited daily newspaper circulation in New Zealand. Its main competition is from Wilson and Horton, which had 43.8% of the daily newspaper circulation in 2003 (29.3% of which came from the New Zealand Herald, the largest circulation newspaper in New Zealand). The two between them in 2003 owned 87.4% of audited daily press circulation of the provincial newspapers (those with under 25,000 circulation), and 92.2% of the metropolitan readership (those newspapers with more than 25,000 circulation). In addition they have extensive and increasing ownership of community newspapers, and magazines.
Only about 70,000 readers still have an independent daily newspaper. The largest such daily, the Dunedin Otago Daily Times, with a circulation in March 2003 of 44,546, is owned by Allied Press, belonging to the Smith family, which also owns the Greymouth Evening Star, West Coast Times and a number of community newspapers in Dunedin, Otago, Southland and Westland. There are only six other audited locally owned daily newspapers.
INL’s most profitable daily is the Christchurch Press, which has a near monopoly in Christchurch. It also owns the Dominion Post and in fact all the daily newspapers with circulation greater than 25,000 other than the New Zealand Herald, Hawke’s Bay Today and the Otago Daily Times.
John Fairfax Holdings Ltd, which has 21.4% of the Australian capital city and national newspaper market, has a good reputation for its journalism in Australia, where it publishes the generally well-regarded Melbourne Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, and The Australian Financial Review which allow a variety of opinion. Nonetheless its management is politically conservative. For example, there was concern in Australia in 2002 when former Liberal Party Treasurer, Ron Walker, who still had strong political ties, was named as a director. There is an ongoing debate within the company as to the degree of centralisation of its activities, which has shown up in its operations in Aotearoa, with noticeably more content being shared between newspapers. There is concern that this will lead to loss of diversity in views available through its newspapers.
Though it carries the Fairfax name, the company no longer has Fairfax family ownership. This is a reflection of a weakness which may come back to haunt its operations in Aotearoa. The company almost went bankrupt in the early 1990s and was forced to sell its magazine division and other assets. Kerry Packer and far-right Canadian media magnate, Conrad Black became controlling shareholders in 1991. Eventually Black withdrew, and Packer was constantly on the edge of breaching Australia’s media ownership rules. In 2001 he sold his 14.9% shareholding, leaving largely institutional shareholders including Bankers Trust Australia Ltd (8%) and Tyndall Australia Ltd (10%). It is commonly regarded as the weakest of the major media companies in Australia financially, but with highly desirable assets. Both Packer and O’Reilly have shown recent interest in purchasing it. O’Reilly might – but would not necessarily – have difficulties with the New Zealand Commerce Commission as it would give him almost total control of New Zealand’s print media. Fairfax’s weakness, particularly after this major acquisition, may also lead to problems with maintaining and expanding its operations, and in competing with the O’Reilly empire.
But Fairfax is by no means squeaky clean. Part of its formula for buying INL’s newspapers was for New Zealand taxpayers, to help it. Using a scheme that O’Reilly is using with Wilson and Horton, the plan was to sell the mastheads of the newspapers to a US bank and lease them back. Tax advantages in both New Zealand and the US would have doubled the return on Fairfax’s acquisition – using a handy $23 million of taxpayers’ money in tax benefits. Unfortunately for Fairfax, the Minister of Finance announced he would close the loophole. Just how much Wilson and Horton’s owners have been making a year from New Zealand taxpayers has not been revealed. O’Reilly revalued the company’s mastheads from $82 million to $794 million after he purchased Wilson and Horton in 1996, and then sold them to JP Morgan of the US for $1.1 billion when Wilson and Horton was resold to O’Reilly’s Australian company, ANM.
For more details of news media ownership in Aotearoa, see the article “News media ownership in New Zealand“ on CAFCA’s web site, and “Who owns New Zealand’s news media? Can we afford to let them own our news?“ in Foreign Control Watchdog, 103, August 2003.
According to the OIC, Independent Newspapers Limited is owned ultimately as follows:
32.7549% - minority shareholdings in Australia, Australian Public
13.7273% - Murdoch family, Australia
3.5678% - minority shareholdings in the U.S.A.
1.4106% - Unknown, Persons who may be “overseas persons”
1.3053% - minority shareholdings in the United Kingdom
32.5441% - minority shareholdings in Aotearoa
14.69% - The Todd Corporation Limited, Aotearoa
In fact, at 14/10/03 INL was owned 45.12% by Murdoch’s News Corporation (through its Australian subsidiary, News Ltd), 9.14% by Telecom, and 14.65% by Todd Corporation. In total over 73% of its shareholding was by overseas companies or individuals.
The sale includes 1.5 hectares of land:
[Decision number 200310080.]
Rabobank New Zealand Limited, owned by Cooperatieve Centrale Ralffeisen Boerenleenbank BA of the Netherlands, has approval to acquire the New Zealand rural lending portfolio of AMP Bank Limited for $280,000,000 from AMP Bank Limited, which is owned 89% in Australia and 11% in Aotearoa. According to the OIC,
The Applicant, is a niche operator in the New Zealand market, providing services mainly to well-managed primary producers and to small to mid-sized businesses. It operates in three core areas of the food and agribusiness banking market.
The Applicant is proposing to acquire the New Zealand rural lending portfolio of AMP Bank Limited. The purchase of the rural lending portfolio is consistent with Rabobank NZ’s strategy of growing its rural lending business in New Zealand. AMP Bank wishes to sell its rural lending portfolio as part of a significant restructuring of the operations of AMP and, specifically, AMP banking. AMP Bank intends to focus on providing retail deposits and mortgage products in Australia.
The portfolio therefore certainly includes mortgages and other securities over large areas of rural land.
In November 1997, Rabobank received approval to acquire Wrightson Farmers Finance Ltd, a subsidiary of Wrightson Ltd, for approximately $97,000,000. Rabobank is said to be the world’s largest agricultural bank.
This is a further part of AMP’s programme of selling off parts of its bank’s assets having decided to restructure the unprofitable bank. For earlier sales, see our commentary on the April 2003 OIC decisions.
[Decision number 200310102.]
Wesfarmers of Australia acquires Paykel
Wesfarmers Limited of Australia has approval to acquire the business assets and undertakings of Paykel Limited for $10,000,000, from JB Were (NZ) Private Equity Limited, a subsidiary of JB Were Group Holdings Pty Limited of Australia. The assets include 3.9 hectares of leasehold land at 11 Dalgety Drive, Manukau, Auckland.
The OIC states:
Wesfarmers Limited is one of Australia’s largest public companies with interests in coal mining, gas processing and distribution, retailing of home and garden improvement products and building materials, provision of rural merchandise, services and insurance, fertilisers and chemicals manufacturing, industrial and safety product distribution, rail transport and forestry products. Wesfarmers currently has the following investments in New Zealand, Benchmark Building Supplies, Bunnings Warehouse, NZ Safety, Blackwoods, Protector Safety Supply and Packaging House.
Wesfarmers is a significant participant in the New Zealand distribution of industrial, maintenance, repair and operating products market. It proposes to acquire the assets and undertakings of Paykel Limited a distributor of engineering and industrial products in New Zealand. The proposed acquisition is part of Wesfarmers’ strategy to increase its distribution activities and its geographical and customer base in New Zealand.
Wesfarmers had operating revenue of $7.4 billion in 2001/02 and profits after tax of $414 million.
Media reports put the sale at A$9 million ($10.4 million). Paykel, an Auckland-based engineering supplies distributor with 238 staff, is the largest distributor of maintenance, repair and trading supplies in the country. Its operations will be merged into Wesfarmers’ existing activities and the company wound up. It was part of the Skellerup empire which was destroyed after the collapse of a highly leveraged management buyout promoted by Goldman Sachs. Its remains, Viking Pacific Holdings Ltd, were sold to JB Were in 2002 (see our commentary for December 2002 for further details and earlier references). JB Were earlier sold seven Viking Pacific companies for $52 million, keeping the remainder as the Tiri Group which, according to the Commerce Commission, is the actual vendor in this transaction, selling to Wesfarmers Industrial and Safety NZ Limited (Press, “Paykel sold”, 5/6/03, p.B6; Press, “Paykel to Aust”, 5/7/03, p.C6).
The Commerce Commission allowed the purchase, concluding that it would not substantially lessen competition (Commerce Commission decision number 502, 26/6/03).
[Decision number 200310078.]
Tech Pacific Holdings (NZ) Limited, owned 35% by Hagemeyer NV of the Netherlands, 32.5% by Asia Investors LLC of Hong Kong and 32.5% by CVC Capital Partners Asia Pacific LP of the U.K., has approval to acquire Tech Pacific (N.Z.) Limited for $96,284,549 from Hagemeyer NV of Netherlands. According to the OIC:
Hagemeyer is the existing owner of the Tech Pacific Group a wholesale distribution business focused on the information technology and telecommunications industry. Hagemeyer will retain a 35 percent interest in the business as a result of the proposed transaction with CVC Asia Pacific Limited investment funds (CVC) acquiring 65 percent. CVC is part of an international investment group with a strategy of focusing on investment opportunities to create growth and value in investments.
Tech Pacific is a leading software vendor. CVC is also a shareholder in Pacific Brands (see our commentary for November 2001), and Amatek (which owns Formica (NZ) Ltd – see our commentary for August 1999).
[Decision number 200310081.]
JA Griffin of the U.S.A. has approval to acquire 22.8 hectares at Coop Road, SH2, Gisborne for $483,750 from DJ and L Stokes of Aotearoa.
Griffin is the owner of Nick’s Head Station, and his purchase was a matter of national controversy during the July 2002 General Election, because the station is of historical and cultural significance to both Pakeha and Maori. It was the point that Captain James Cook recorded as his ship’s first sighting of New Zealand in 1769. It is also the site of Te Kuri a Paoa, of spiritual significance to the Ngai Tamanuhiri iwi including the Rangihoua Pa with 15 archaeological sites, and the landing point of the canoe Horouta.
The sale was finally approved after ministerial intervention when Griffin promised to gift part of the headland to the nation – about 33 hectares of cliffs, the peak and a pa site. He also agreed to form a trust with local Maori to protect the property’s cultural and historical sites and not to develop it as a tourist resort or a golf course. He had previously offered to protect the farmland from further commercial development but not to gift part of it or “sell a third of it to people he had never met”.
According to the OIC in regard to the present approval:
The subject property is bounded by Nicks Head Station, owned by the Applicant, on three sides and juts into it forming a tongue in between the woolshed, sheepyards and the base of the farm operations from the bulk of the farm property. The vendors are subdividing their property to consolidate their unit around a block of flat land close to their house. The subject property is currently utilised by the vendors for seasonal cropping and the Applicant proposes to return it to sheep and cattle farming in conjunction with Nicks Head Station. This will assist with the facilitation of livestock movement on Nicks Head Station and replace land that has been retired from farming to develop the wetlands on Nicks Head Station. The wetlands development was to comprise 28 hectares but now it is proposed to increase this to 51 hectares. The decision to extend the wetland development could possibly impact on the economies of scale of the farming operation on Nicks Head Station. The integration of the additional 22 hectares of land, which in itself is not an economic unit, is likely to enhance the economies of scale of the farming operation.
The combined property adjoins the foreshore and land “which is deemed a heritage or historic area”.
[Decision number 200310091.]
CDL Land New Zealand Limited, according to the OIC ultimately owned 22.1213% by the Hong Leong Group of Singapore, 20.095% in other Singapore shareholdings, and 58% in Aotearoa, has approval to acquire 2.6 hectares at 40 Kewa Road, Albany, Auckland for $1,045,000 from A and JM Hope of Aotearoa.
The Applicant’s core business is the acquisition of land for residential subdivision and development. The proposed acquisition will further strengthen and grow the Applicant’s land bank and development portfolio. The property adjoins a 10.4146 hectare property acquired by the Applicant in December 2002. It is proposed that the property will be subdivided into 22 residential sections to be made available for sale to the open market. The development will be undertaken in conjunction with the adjoining land which will comprise a further 96 residential sections. It is envisaged that due to development and planning issues with the adjoining land that the sub-division will be undertaken in at least three years time.
The property currently contains an existing house. It is proposed to subdivide the existing house and approximately 4,000 square metres of land from the property which will be on-sold as a lifestyle property.
The property adjoins land “which is provided as a reserve, a public park, for recreation purposes, or a private open space”.
CDL Land last purchased land last month – see our commentary for that month for further details.
[Decision number 200310100.]
New town development near Queenstown on Ladies Mile Road
Gardez Investments Limited, owned 26.97% in Australia, 16.54% in the U.S.A., 3.6% by “Unknown Overseas Persons”, 2.66% in Singapore, 2.52% in Hong Kong, 2.18% in the U.K., and 45.53% in Aotearoa, has approval to acquire 7.8 hectares at Ladies Mile Road, State Highway 6, Queenstown, Otago for $15,750,000 from Ladies Mile Holdings Limited of Aotearoa. According to the OIC,
The Applicant’s business activities are investment in commercial property and the construction of commercial rental properties for long-term investment. It is proposed to construct a commercial development totalling 30,000 square metres over a three year period. The development which is to be retained by the Applicant as a long-term investment will be leased out to various business operators.
Gardez is managed by Auckland-based The Montpellier Group, which is headed by Christchurch property investor, Dr Dolf de Roos, who also heads associated property development company Property Ventures Ltd. Another director of Property Ventures is ultra-right tax avoider and campaigner against the Inland Revenue Department (with the assistance of ACT MP Rodney Hide), Dave Henderson, owner of Ladies Mile Holdings Limited according to its New Zealand Companies Office record. All companies are involved in a project to create a new town at Frankton, near Queenstown, called “Five Mile”. Property Ventures’ other projects are a vineyard development at Gibbston Valley near Queenstown, Lake Ohau Alpine Village on the shores of Lake Ohau in the Mackenzie Country, Taipa Bay Beach Resort in the Far North, and Henderson’s “up market” student accommodation in Christchurch. The Montpellier Group “has offices in Christchurch and Auckland in New Zealand, Sydney in Australia, and in Phoenix, Arizona, in The United States of America. The company is not restricted by geographical location and will continue to identify strong investment opportunities throughout the world.”
See their web sites http://www.dolfderoos.com, http://www.themontpelliergroup.com, and http://www.propertyventures.co.nz/co_partnerships.htm.
[Decision number 200310103.]
· Four further groups of investors from Taiwan have approval to acquire land from the New Zealand Forestry Group Limited, which is owned 76% by Wesley Garratt of Aotearoa and 24% by J Hong of Taiwan. They are all members of the Carlyon Forest Body Corporate “which has entered into an arrangement with New Zealand Forestry Group the Vendor, to develop approximately 199.28 hectares of land at Ngaruawahia. The majority of this area (80 percent) has already been planted in forestry with the remaining land to be planted in 2003.” The land is all at Otorohaea Trig Road, RD 2, Ngaruawahia, Waikato.
These sales are like many in this and other regions organised by New Zealand Forestry Group, the last such sales being in May 2003 (see our commentary for that month for further details). The investors provide the money, while New Zealand Forestry Group manages the development of the forestry operation. This is the first involving the Carlyon Forest Body Corporate.
· The FCLU Family Trust has approval to acquire 20.3 hectares for $115,530. [Decision number 200310086.]
· The Good Hope Family Trust has approval to acquire 27.5 hectares for $192,548. [Decision number 200310085.]
· The Lin and Liao Family Trust has approval to acquire 14 hectares for $105,000. [Decision number 200310095.]
· The Tien and Chang Family Trust has approval to acquire 11.7 hectares for $87,750. [Decision number 200310087.]
· Juken Nissho Limited, owned 85% by Juken Sangyo Company Limited of Japan and 15% by Nissho Iwai Corporation of Japan, has approval to acquire 460 hectares at Cricklewood Road, Wairoa, Gisborne for $725,063 from BL and G Campbell of Aotearoa. “The Applicant proposes to convert the subject property, which is currently mainly utilised for agricultural purposes, into a commercial forestry operation. The property currently has approximately 12 hectares planted in forestry which is the subject of a forestry right to a previous owner. A further 12 hectares is subject to an Open Space Covenant under the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust. This will ultimately provide the Applicant with a further secure supply of wood which will be processed at its existing Gisborne processing mill. This will ensure continuity of processing and employment at the Gisborne mill and will enable future expansion of the value-added production at Gisborne.” [Decision number 200310079.]
· Linden Estate Limited, owned by Brenda Lynne Cha of Canada, has approval to acquire from Seafield Farm (HB) Limited of Aotearoa 8.9 hectares at State Highway 5, Esk Valley, Napier, Hawkes Bay for $585,000 plus 6.5 hectares of land at State Highway 5, Esk Valley which has a valuation of $50,000. “The Applicant has previously obtained consent to acquire the viticultural and winery business of Linden Estate situated in the Esk Valley and other viticultural properties in the Esk. These applications included the acquisition of 10.6725 hectares of leasehold land and 30.1587 hectares of freehold land.” The last such purchase was in October 2001 – see our commentary for that month for further details. “The Applicant has entered into an agreement with Seafield Farm (HB) Limited which in effect is a land exchange and boundary adjustment whereby the Applicant will acquire 8.883 hectares of land from Seafield (including an option to acquire the freehold of 4.89 hectares currently leased by the Applicant) and Seafield will acquire 6.536 hectares from the Applicant. The boundary adjustment/land exchange proposal will regularise the use and productivity of both the Applicant’s and Seafield’s properties. The proposed conversion of the subject property to a vineyard will provide a further guaranteed supply of grapes for processing at Linden Estate’s winery. Seafield are undertaking a subdivision of their land which requires access through the land owned by the Applicant, and the Hastings District Council require that the land to be disposed of by Seafield cannot be created as separate titles available for acquisition by third parties.” [Decision number 200310092.]
· The Thomson Trust of the U.K. has approval to acquire 39.0 hectares at Dakins Road, Carterton, Wairarapa for $2,037,375 from HD Ryan and the Cliffs Trust of Aotearoa. “The settlor of the Applicant and his family propose to reside permanently in New Zealand and acquire the subject property as a permanent residence and for a vineyard/winery development. It is proposed that approximately 34.5 hectares will be planted in grape vines predominantly in Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc varieties. The remaining area of the property will be utilised as a residence with a small area planted in olive trees.” [Decision number 200310083.]
· Lion Nathan Limited, owned 46.13% by Kirin Brewery Company Limited of Japan, 32% by minority shareholders in Australia, 16.87% by “persons who may be ‘overseas persons’”, and 5% by minority shareholders in Aotearoa, has approval to acquire 8 hectares at 229 New Renwick Road, Blenheim, Marlborough for $1,350,000 from IF and CM Ginders of Aotearoa. Note that Lion Nathan is now only 5% owned in Aotearoa. “The proposed acquisition adjoins an existing vineyard owned by the Applicant. The Applicant proposes to develop the property into a vineyard to be operated in conjunction with its existing vineyards.” [Decision number 200310090.]
· Gary Lee Ranno Carlston and Nancy Marie Ranno Carlston of the U.S.A. have approval to acquire 139 hectares at Maori Point Road, Tarras, Central Otago for $3,262,500 from Rowan Hall Limited of Aotearoa. “The subject property is currently barren unproductive land with no farming activities being undertaken. It is currently covered in a mix of wilding pines with no commercial value, dry grasses, and weeds. The Applicants propose to acquire the property for a viticultural development. They propose to initially plant approximately 20 hectares in Pinot Noir grapes for wine. Subject to the success of the 20 hectare development, the Applicants intend to expand the vineyard. A further 30-35 hectares has been identified as suitable for viticulture. The Applicants’ future plans also include the establishment of a winery on the property to process the grapes from the subject property and other vineyards in the Central Otago region. The balance of the property which is not suitable for viticulture will be utilised in part for vineyard related infrastructure irrigation dam and headworks.” [Decision number 200310099.]
· Gary Brian Rodrigue and Aaron Beardsley Allbright of the U.S.A. have approval to acquire 16.5 hectares at State Highway 10, Taipa, Aurere, Northland for $2,475,000 from ER and GD Reid of Aotearoa. “The Applicants hold New Zealand returning residents visas propose to relocate to New Zealand and reside permanently in May 2004. The property is currently part of a larger dairy farm that has become uneconomic. The Applicants intend to build a dwelling on the property and reside permanently there. They also are currently seeking advice from consultants as to the best horticultural use for the property. The Applicant is demonstrating a commitment to New Zealand through applying for and taking up New Zealand permanent residency.” The property adjoins the foreshore and land “which is provided as a reserve, a public park, for recreation purposes, or a private open space”. [Decision number 200310084.]
· Michael Graham Linforth and Debra Linforth of the U.K. (25%), the Clive and Carol Buckley Family Limited Partnership of the U.S.A. (25%), Wayne Keddy of the U.S.A. (25%) and Dennis Guise of Aotearoa (25%) have approval to acquire 32.9 hectares at Mataka Station, Purerua Peninsula, Bay of Islands, Northland for $1,800,000 from Mataka Limited of Aotearoa. “The acquisition of this property by the Applicant is part of a rural lifestyle subdivision development on Mataka Station. The establishment and sale of the lifestyle lots will provide capital that will enable the farming operation of Mataka Station to become economically viable, and also to preserve and enhance the conservation and historic values of the property.” The property adjoins land “which is provided as a reserve, a public park, for recreation purposes, or a private open space”. [Decision number 200310082.]
· Juliet Langley and Anne Louise Guyol of the U.S.A. have approval to acquire 18.0 hectares at Harambee Road, Whangarei, North Auckland for $393,750 from Pacific Vista Limited of Aotearoa. “The Applicants have applied for New Zealand permanent residency under the General Skills category and propose to acquire the subject lifestyle property. The Immigration Consultants for the Applicants have confirmed that their applications for New Zealand residency are likely to be approved. The Applicants intend to construct a dwelling and reside permanently on the property. The property is part of a lifestyle subdivision that is being undertaken by the vendor.” [Decision number 200310096.]
· Steve Cohen of Switzerland has approval to acquire 20.2 hectares at 410 Clevedon-Kawakawa Bay Road, Clevedon, South Auckland for $2,025,000 from The JA Cottle Trust of Aotearoa. “The Applicant has applied for New Zealand permanent residency under the Business Investor category. He proposes to acquire the subject property known as the Clevedon Horse Park which the vendor utilises for breeding, showjumping, selling and exporting horses. The Applicant intends to reside permanently on the property and continue to operate the Clevedon Horse Park business with the vendor as a joint venture partner. It is proposed to further develop the business through the introduction of further capital and the importation of mares from Europe.” [Decision number 200310088.]
· The Glazeley Farms Trust of the U.K. has approval to acquire 132 hectares at 471 Sainsbury Road, Pirongia, Hamilton, Waikato for $1,237,500 from BG and EW Pothan. “The settlor and primary beneficiary (Mr Jenks) of the Glazeley Farms Trust proposes to acquire the subject property which is currently utilised for grazing sheep and cattle. The Applicant proposes to increase the productivity of the property through a gorse eradication, pasture renewal and management programme. This is likely to lead to an increased stock carrying capacity. In addition it is proposed to acquire unbroken two-year old thoroughbreds for breaking in and preparing for sale. Mr Jenks proposes to utilise his contacts in the United Kingdom racing industry to market the thoroughbred horses.” [Decision number 200310101.]
· Norman George Colhoun of the U.K. has approval to acquire 6.5 hectares at 74 Richard Road, R D 2, Hastings, Hawkes Bay for $770,000 from Strathmore Trust of Aotearoa. “The Applicant has received approval from the New Zealand Immigration Service for New Zealand permanent residence under the Business Investor category. He proposes to acquire the property primarily for lifestyle purposes. The Applicant intends to reside on the property which contains a dwelling. Approximately, 6 hectares of the property is leased to a local company who utilise the land for crop farming. The Applicant intends to continue with the lease arrangement at least until the current arrangement expires in 2005.” [Decision number 200310093.]
· Awassi NZ Land Holdings Limited, owned 90% by Hmood Al Ali Al Khalf of Saudi Arabia and 10% by George Antonios Assaf of Australia, has approval to acquire 1,626 hectares at Otora Station, Te Uri Road, Central Hawkes Bay for $2,362,500 from DA and J Stevenson of Aotearoa. “The Applicant is the land owning entity of the Awassi group of companies that is one of the largest importers of live sheep and cattle into Saudi Arabia, the Middle East and Gulf countries. It has been operating in New Zealand since 1989. The subject property is to be farmed in conjunction with the existing farming operation of the group that involves the breeding and grazing of sheep for live and carcass export. The Applicant has previously obtained consent from the Commission to acquire properties totalling 1,723.182 hectares. The acquisition will assist in the further development of the Awassi sheep breeding programme in New Zealand, which will result in an expansion of its export business. The property will also be used as a store farm for sheep collected in advance of a live sheep shipment.” The property adjoins land “which is held for conservation purposes”. Awassi owns land in both the North and South Islands. The last such purchase was in January 2000, when it received approval to acquire the 1,125 hectare Brookwood Station at Paulsen Road, Takapau, Hawkes Bay for $3,220,000. See our commentary for that month for further details. [Decision number 200310098.]
· Kenneth Giles McDermott and Kathleen McDermott of the U.S.A. have approval to acquire 341 hectares at Westbank Road, Pokororo, Motueka, Nelson for $2,092,500 from DE McGaveston of Aotearoa. “The Applicants propose to acquire the subject property which currently contains an area of 8 hectares planted in an apple orchard of various varieties. 230 hectares is utilised for sheep and cattle farming with the remaining land area unfarmed/scrub covered. The Applicants propose to further develop the property to increase its productivity. It is proposed to extend the apple orchard by a further 5 hectares and planting 80 hectares of unfarmed land in macrocarpa and douglas fir forestry. It is also proposed to enhance the sheep and cattle farming operation through extensive regrassing of the pasture land.” [Decision number 200310089.]
· Bakker Bulbs Limited, owned by C P Bakker Heerhugowaard Holding BV of the Netherlands, has approval to acquire 208 hectares of freehold and 8.5 hectares of Railway lease leasehold land at State Highway 1, Rakaia, Canterbury for $4,893,750 from J and A Liemburg of Aotearoa. “The Applicant is a flower grower/bulb producer with operations in the Netherlands and New Zealand. It proposes to acquire the subject property which is currently operated by the vendor as a cropping farm. The expansion of its southern hemisphere operations enables the Applicant to take advantage of suitable growing conditions in the out of season time for the northern hemisphere. The bulbs will be harvested and processed through the processing plant the Applicant has established on its existing neighbouring property.” The company is vertically integrating its operations. In March 2002, Bakker gained approval to acquire 15 hectares at 109 South Town Belt, Rakaia, for $371,250, though it appeared to be already established on the property and to have leased other land. See our commentary for that month for further details. [Decision number 200310094.]
June was a relatively big month for number of applications and their value. Reflecting the approvals given in April, and some large transactions this month, the gross and net value of investment approved in the year to June 2003 is considerably higher than for the previous June year. The net value (i.e. disregarding sales from one overseas investor to another) is still considerably lower than the gross: by far the greatest part of the value of the approvals is for sale from one overseas investor to another.
Investment involving land
Gross sales of land approved by the OIC during the year to June have increased again in area from last month, though still well behind last year, most of them through net sales (i.e. from a New Zealand owner to an overseas one). Refusals (above) have fallen in number, area and value, from last year and are still a tiny proportion of the total. There was one this month.
Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa,
P. O. Box 2258