CAFCA Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa

Foreign investment in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Overseas Investment Office August 2011 Decisions

Germans Snap Up Yet Another Southland Farm

A relatively quiet month at the OIO. Firstly, NMP Farm Investment GmbH and PP1 Agrar Ozeanien GmbH Aquila AgrarINVEST III GmbH & Co. KG and PP1 Agrar Ozeanien Investitions GmbH & Co. KG, Germany (100%) received approval for the acquisition of rights or interests in up to 100% of the units of Tahawai Pastoral Limited Partnership which owns or controls a freehold interest in 192.1 hectares of land at 145 Orawia-Pukemaori Road, Orawia, Southland. The vendor was Pukeawa Farms Limited New Zealand (100%); Consideration was $5,700,000.

The OIO states: "The Applicant intends to develop and lift production from the property which will continue to be operated as a dairy farm. Proposed developments include the construction of a new 50 bale rotary dairy shed with a meal feeding system, establishment of a new effluent pond with modern technology, provision for a tanker track, improvement of drainage in some of the wetter areas and the fencing off of various waterways". See our commentary not only for last month, but also March and December 2010 and March, April and May 2011.

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Kahutara Downs and Rakanui Station Change Hands Again

Joseph Reeves Hyde lll United States of America (100%) received approval for the acquisition of rights or interests in 100% of the shares of Hyde Investments Limited and Pittco NZ LLC, being the partners of Hyde NZ Partners LP, which owns or controls a freehold interest in 1,783 hectares of land known as Kahutara Downs and Rakanui Station located 16km south of Kaikoura. The vendor was Margaret Elisabeth Hyde United States of America (100%); consideration was $10,600,000.

The OIO states: "Joseph Reeves Hyde III is replacing his daughter Margaret Hyde as the underlying owner of Hyde NZ Partners LP which owns Kahutara Downs and Rakanui Station near Kaikoura. Hyde NZ Partners LP will continue to develop the land in accordance with professional business and ecological plans by improving the existing farming operations, planting a sustainable forest and implementing an ecological restoration programme to protect sensitive ecological areas".

These properties were only bought by Margaret Hyde in November 2010 for just under $11,000,000, the vendor of Rakanui being Ngai Tahu. Ngai Tahu had owned Rakanui since 2005, but sold it to Margaret for $500,000 less than what they paid for it five years earlier (see our November 2010 commentary). Margaret owned the properties for just nine months before selling for another $500,000 loss, albeit to her father. It seems once large tracts of New Zealand are in foreign hands, there is no guarantee Kiwis will be able to buy it back.

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Ngai Tahu Sells Over 18,000 Hectares To The Swiss

While the previous sale may have had Ngai Tahu's forefathers feeling a little uneasy, this one is bound to have them leaping out of their graves! Specifically, Corisol New Zealand Limited Switzerland (100%) has received approval to acquire investment in sensitive land, being the acquisition of:

  • a freehold interest in 357 hectares of land at Forestry Road, Ashley Downs; and
  • a freehold interest in 2,676.6 hectares of land at Jollies Pass Road & Main Hills & Western Hills, Hanmer Forest; and
  • a freehold interest in 6,344.8 hectares of land at Main Block, Ashley Forest; and
  • a freehold interest in 1,956.2 hectares of land at Mt Thomas Forest; and
  • a freehold interest in 5,189.5 hectares of land at Western, Northern and Eastern blocks, Okuku; and
  • a freehold interest in 1,330.3 hectares of land at Wylies Block, Teviotdale Block & Croft Block, Omihi; and finally
  • a freehold interest in 397.5 hectares of land at Trig Road, Oxford.

The vendor was Ngai Tahu Forest Estates Limited New Zealand (100%); consideration was $22,888,888. The total area is 18,252 hectares, so the Swiss are paying just $1,254 per hectare! The OIO states:" The Vendor is selling the forestry land as it is moving towards a more active investment strategy and more balanced investment portfolio. The Applicant is purchasing the land based on its long-term investment potential, sustainability of the forest land, and as the first step in a geographical diversification of its investment portfolio".

Why Ngai Tahu can't see the long term investment potential and sustainability of this land is beyond me. And what is their more active investment strategy more unsustainable dairy farms on the Canterbury Plains, on the north bank of the Waimakariri River? The Swiss must be laughing all the way to the bank, which of course they already own. And they seem quite pleased with this purchase. To quote the home page of their Website: "Further, Corisol holds over 18,000 hectares of forest land through its subsidiary Corisol New Zealand, which makes Corisol one of the biggest forest land owners in New Zealand".

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And Strathblane Station Also Snapped Up By The Swiss

Middle Mount Limited Heinrich Martin Henni, Switzerland (100%) received approval to acquire a freehold interest in 891.8 hectares of land at Strathblane Station, Hangaroa, Gisborne. The vendor was Ward Geoffrey Candy New Zealand (100%); consideration was $3,375,000.The OIO states: "The Applicant intends to establish a 330 ha forestry plantation on the Applicant's adjacent Avondale Station property. The addition of the Strathblane Station to the farming operations at Avondale Station will compensate for the loss of grazing land on Avondale once the forest is established". Apart from the above mentioned Avondale Station, Henni has been steadily buying up properties here in Aotearoa. See our commentaries for August and December 2006, September 2009 and September 2010 for details of Henni's growing portfolio here.

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Other August Decisions

Foley Family Wines Holdings, New Zealand Limited (United States of America 91.1%, Australia 6.5%, New Zealand 2.4%) received approval to acquire:

  • a freehold interest in 65.1 hectares of land at Ruakokoputuna Road, Ruakokoputuna, South Wairarapa; and
  • a freehold interest in 8.6 hectares of land at 89-91 Martins Road, Martinborough; and
  • a freehold interest in 17.3 hectares of land at Longbush Road, Longbush, South Wairarapa; and
  • a leasehold interest in 37.2 hectares of land at 50 Martins Road, Martinborough.

Approval was also received for an overseas investment in sensitive land, being the Applicant's acquisition of rights or interests in 50% of the shares of McLeod Vineyard Limited which owns or controls a freehold interest in 6.6 hectares of land at 91 Puruatanga Road, Martinborough. The vendor was Te Kairanga Wines Limited (New Zealand 100%); consideration was $11,056,513. The OIO states: "The Vendor is a grower and producer of premium and super premium New Zealand wine. The Vendor owns and leases sensitive land in the Wairarapa region and holds 50% of the shares in McLeod Vineyard Limited.

The Applicant considers that the Vendor has quality brands in market segments that are complementary to its business. It believes that under its ownership the business will be able to increase its exports to the United States and other countries utilising its distribution network and access capital to facilitate future expansion and growth". See our commentary for October 2009 for details of other vineyard purchases here by Foley.

RobMiJon Holdings Limited Victoria Agnich, Robert Agnich, Michael Agnich and Jonathan Agnich, United States of America (99%) Richard J. Agnich and Victoria T. Agnich, United States of America (1%) received approval to acquire a freehold interest in 545.9 hectares of land at 176 Moeraki Road, Martinborough. Consideration was $1,650,000. The vendor was Gerald Charles Atkinson, Barbara Joan Atkinson & Barry Pringle Howatson as trustees of the Atkinson Family Trust New Zealand (100%). The Applicant plans to establish, develop and eventually harvest a pine forest on the land. They have previously bought land near Masterton for the same purpose (see our April 2010 commentary).

And finally for August Russell John & Helen Margaret Clinton Canada (100%) received approval to acquire a freehold interest in 296 hectares of land at Raroa Station, Whangara Rd, Tolaga Bay. The vendor was Gregory John Shelton New Zealand (100%); consideration was $950,000. The OIO states: "The Applicants own an existing 495 ha forestry block in Tolaga Bay. The purpose of the Investment is to establish a second forest in the area. This is intended to provide a wider range of forest age classes in the Applicants' timber business, the opportunity to maintain a larger carbon inventory (facilitating participation in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme) and result in more even cash flows for the business". In other words, more overseas entrepreneurs seeking to exploit our Emissions Trading Scheme, buying land they will hardly visit, and sucking cash out of New Zealand.

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