INDEPENDENT NEWS

Judicial Review of Overseas Investment Decision

Published: Tue 1 Oct 2019 03:30 PM
Social Credit is today (approx 4pm) filing papers in the High Court in Wellington to seek judicial review of the Overseas Investment Office decision to grant approval for the takeover of Westland Milk Products by Chinese conglomerate Inner Mongolian Yili.
That company is the largest milk processor in China and is 25% owned by the Chinese government.
The takeover has left Fonterra the only significant New Zealand owned processor of milk products.
“Ministers knew of the proposal very early in the process and the “region’s champion” Shane Jones had even announced funding of $10 million from the Provincial Growth Fund for Westland Milk”.
That was subsequently withdrawn when the sale agreement with Yili was signed in March.
“Yet the government chose to sit on its hands and watch while the takeover went ahead”.
Party Leader Chris Leitch says the party is concerned that the Overseas Investment Office may have failed to apply a much stricter set of criteria under the Overseas Investment Act 2005 which would have seen Ministers, not the OIO, make the final decision.
He says the Ministerial Directive to the OIO in November 2017 clearly sets out criteria on how such applications should be considered.
It states that “The merits of overseas investment in the primary sector can be less compelling given that we are already world leaders in this area”.
Mr Leitch said “Few would disagree, and it is important for kiwis to have confidence that the OIO, which is the gatekeeper for overseas investment in this country, is applying the rules properly.
“We want to see New Zealanders reaping the benefits of that world leadership in the primary sector, not overseas shareholders”.
”Massive chunks of the overseas exchange that our country earns from that world leadership, are lost when those overseas owners claim their profits”.
“There’s a tidal wave of applications from overseas entities that want to snap up the best agricultural land and agricultural and horticultural businesses that New Zealand has, so we’re taking a stand on the issue”.
“Both the government and the opposition have operated on the basis that New Zealand is “open for sale” and have done everything possible to attract overseas buyers of our best businesses, many substantially built up with research and development paid for by the New Zealand taxpayer”.
“Our view is that’s not good for the long term future of New Zealanders so we’re putting a stake in the ground”.
The Party is seeking financial support to fight the case. Donations can be made to this account - Kiwibank 38-9000-0601245-02 or made on the Give-A-Little page set up for the legal challenge (Westland Milk Sale Judicial Review).
Donations will only be used for this case or any other subsequent actions the party may take to oppose overseas entities buying up the country.

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