CAFCA - Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa

Foreign investment in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Overseas Investment Office - October 2020 Decisions

Labour Gives Oceana Gold A Rubber Stamp For Waihi

Oceana Gold (New Zealand) Ltd (USA 42%; UK 25%; Canada 11%; Australia 8%; various 14%, has a standing consent to acquire residential (but not otherwise sensitive) land for incidental residential use and non-residential use. The OIO states that Oceana Gold applied for this standing consent to acquire residential land related to its mining operations in Waihi.

It is ultimately owned by OceanaGold Corporation, a transnational gold, silver, and copper mining company headquartered in Melbourne and listed on the Toronto and Australian stock exchanges. It operates two major mining developments in NZ: the Waihi gold mines and Macraes gold mines in Otago. Oceana Gold acquired the Waihi Mines in 2015 and has plans to extend its life to 2036, and submits that the purchase of residential properties for various purposes is vital to the viability of the mine.

Oceana Gold plans to acquire residential land related to its mining activities in Waihi, due to the need to comply with conditions of its resource consents. Oceana Gold expects that most of those properties will remain suitable for residential use until mining commences and /or while mining takes place. Oceana Gold also expects to purchase residential land for physical mining works (including pit expansion or relocating roads), and for use as buffer land from the effects of physical mining works. This standing consent is for up to 15 transactions by 31 October 2023, for a total of 75 ha. of residential but not otherwise sensitive land within the territory of the Hauraki District Council.

See May 2019 and January 2020 for recent Oceana Gold purchases of residential land for waste ponds or tunnelling under associated with the expansion of the Martha mine. In May 2019 Labour's Ministers side-stepped Green Minister Eugenie Sage when she declined OIO consent in regard to a waste pond she considered an environmental risk. Now she is no longer Minister for Land Information, it appears Labour will let Oceana Gold have whatever land it wants without Ministerial oversight.

On 24 July 2020 Oceana Gold announced Project Quattro, comprising:

  • Phase 5 expansion of the existing Martha Open Pit.
  • A new, smaller Gladstone Open Pit to the west of the processing plant.
  • Increased tailings storage capacity immediately east of the current facilities.
  • Raising the crest on TSF1A and investigating options that may include disposal within the Gladstone open pit.
  • A new Northern Rock Stack storage facility to the north of current tailings.

If consented, Project Quattro has the potential to produce nearly 750,000 ounces of gold over 14 years, extending the life of the Martha mine to 2037. Search "Waihi" in Coromandel Watchdog's website for details, background and critique.

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Craigmore's Kauri Forestry Partnership Buys Another Forest

Kauri Forestry LP (Switzerland 93%; Germany 7%) has consent to acquire approximately 329 ha. at 26 Baker Road, Maungatapere, Whangarei, from NL Russell Ltd (NZ 100%). Price withheld. The OIO states that this consent was under the test for forestry under s. 16A(4) of the Act. The land is currently a beef farm, which Kauri Forestry plans to convert by establishing and maintaining plantation forest (predominantly radiata pine) on approximately 240 ha.

In addition, it has identified approximately 40 ha. on the better contour of the land that has potential for subdivision and sale as lifestyle blocks. The remainder will be unplanted, including roads and tracks (36 ha.) and native bush (10 ha). The land will be planted over the 2021 and 2022 winter planting seasons and harvested in 25-30 years. Kauri Forestry is one of Craigmore's overseas investment partnerships. See June, September and October 2019 for other Kauri Forestry consents.

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Aquila Capital Buys Te Rata Forest, Gisborne

Aquila Capital Timber Investment Fund SA SICAV-SIF (Germany 100%) has consent to acquire approximately 2,007 ha. known as Te Rata Forest at Tarndale Road, Gisborne, from QIC Strategy Timber No.1 Ltd (Australia 100%). Price withheld. The OIO states that Aquila Capital is acquiring the land through a subsidiary limited partnership (Te Rata Forestry LP).

The land is currently used for forestry by an overseas person, and Aquila Capital will continue the forestry. It will enter into a forest management agreement with an NZ-based forestry manager. Approximately 1,018 ha is exotic forest. Of the remainder, approximately 578 ha is native bush subject to a QEII Trust covenant, and 411 ha is in ancillary uses supporting the forestry operations (i.e., unplanted areas, infrastructure such as roading). This is Aquila fund's first investment in NZ but it has forestry investments in Scotland, Finland and Australia.

Aquila's wider parent group (Aquila Group) has made more than 20 previous investments under the Act. The underlying owners of this investment are primarily German church funds. Aquila Capital's previous NZ investments have mainly been in dairy farming, including a 2014 $100m joint venture with NZ's AGInvest Holdings Ltd providing loans/second mortgages to dairy farmers and horticulturalists. (NBR, 20/10/14).

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Sean Parker (Ex Facebook, Napster) Buys A Third Of Weta Digital

Weta Holdings, LLC (USA 100%) has consent to acquire 5,569,620 new shares issued by Weta Digital Ltd (NZ 77%; US America 23%), which will result in Weta Holdings and associated persons owning almost one third of Weta Digital's shares. Price not stated but a value exceeding $100 million. The OIO states that Weta Digital is raising additional capital to grow its visual effects business.

Sean Parker was a co-founder of the music-sharing service Napster and first President of Facebook. As of 2020, his net worth is estimated by one website at $US 7.7 Billion - or maybe only $US3 million, some very expensive houses and some philanthropy, according to others. Weta Holdings LLC filed a "foreign" company registration with the State of California on 28 August 2019. That means it pays low or no tax in that state because its operation is "elsewhere". Here, in fact, with earnings well taxed here, I hope, before it flies away.

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Singapore Billionaire Increases Share Of Nippon Paint (Dulux/Selleys/Yates)

Wuthelam Holdings Ltd (Singapore 100%) has consent to acquire significant business assets being 148.7 million shares of Nippon Paint Holdings Co. Ltd (Japan 41.4%; Hong Kong 39.1%; UK 9.2%, France 4.9%; USA 3%; Singapore 0.7%; various 1.7%), resulting in Wuthelam and associated persons owning almost 60% of Nippon's shares. This will include indirect ownership of NZ assets with a value exceeding $200 million.

The OIO states that Nippon Paints owns DuluxGroup Ltd, which is the Australian parent company of a number of NZ businesses, including the Dulux, Selleys and Yates brands. Acquiring shares in Nippon Paint has downstream effects on the ownership of these NZ assets. Wutherlam is the investment arm of Goh Cheng Liang, No.2 on the Singapore rich list, a paint maker who became Nippon Paint's main distributor in 1959, with 39% ownership in 2014.

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Happy Valley (ASX) Buys Ōtorohanga Dairy Factory Project

The Minister for Land Information and the Associate Minister of Finance have granted Happy Valley Nutrition Ltd (Australia 60.1%; NZ 28%; Hong Kong [SAR] 9%; Singapore 1.8%; Philippines 0.4%; USA 0.2%; Thailand 0.2%; Portugal 0.1%; UK 0.1%; Czech Republic 0.01%; various 0.01%) consent to acquire significant business interests and approximately 309.25 ha. in Ōtorohanga from Merilyn Ruth Connolly and Derek Kotuku Wooster; Ricardo Vaughan Te Whare; Allen Peter van der Poel, Linda Dawn van der Poel, and Bailey Ingham Trustees Ltd; Woolly Farm Ltd; and Ōtorohanga District Council (all 100% NZ) for $9,675,000.

The OIO states that Happy Valley Nutrition is an ASX-listed NZ incorporated company created as a wholesale supplier of consumer-ready infant milk formula and high-value dairy ingredients. It intends to develop and operate a milk processing blending and packaging plant. The stated benefits to NZ include new jobs in construction and ongoing operation of the facility; additional development investment; increased export; efficient operation and increased production of high-value dairy ingredients; protection of indigenous vegetation and heritage sites on the land; improved walking access; the offer of special land to the Crown; and participation of New Zealanders in the investment.

The start of construction of Happy Valley's $280 million Ōtorohanga factory was announced in October 2019, and Ōtorohanga District Council granted resource consent in February 2018 (despite local concern about surface and ground water allocations), so this OIO consent seems a bit after-the-event. The factory will focus on infant formula ingredients, including A2 and organic milk, with first production planned for July 2022.

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CRV Dairy Geneticists Get Retrospective Consent To Lease Hamilton Land

CRV Ltd (Netherlands Public 78%; Belgium Public 22%) has consent to lease 39.9178 ha. at 105 Bellevue Road, Hamilton, from Bellevue Enterprises Ltd (NZ 100%) for $15,414,017. The OIO states that this consent is mostly retrospective, but also allows CRV to extend its lease in future. CRV and two related companies have been leasing and operating their animal breeding businesses on the land since 2014.

CRV is the second largest supplier of dairy genetic products in NZ. The Investment has resulted in increased export receipts and processing of primary products, like bull semen and embryos. It led to more investment in and productive use of the land, added market competition, and continued research and development by CRV, retaining and creating jobs.

CRV is a cooperative owned by the Dutch Cooperative CR Delta and the Flemish Cooperative VRV. It describes itself as one of the world's largest herd improvement companies, with offices in the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Luxembourg, South Africa, Brazil, the USA, the Czech Republic and Spain. It exports semen to about 50 countries.

In 2003 CRV Delta bought NZ company Ambreed, established in 1969 with a core business of dairy semen production and sales in the NZ market. They named it CRV Ambreed, but from 2021 it's CRV New Zealand ('Better cows, better life'). In 2019 it celebrated its 50th anniversary à la Willy Wonker by hiding five prize-winning gold straws in its semen collection kits.

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