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Huiarua & Matanui farms sale border on treason

16 July 2022

by Chris Leitch, Leader

The government’s failure to stop the sale of Huiarua and Matanui stations on New Zealand’s East Coast to foreign buyers borders on treason according to Social Credit Party leader, Chris Leitch.

More than 6000 hectares, including a significant area of undulating productive farmland, will be turned into pine trees and the new owners will walk away with a massive profit on the carbon credits that will generate.

The trees will likely never be harvested, leaving the ground poisoned for decades.

The sale will be another nail in the coffin of East Coast communities and will lead to more loss of employment and business closures as people move out of the district.

According to the original advertisement for the sale the properties offer “superior finishing country not easily found in all regions, including vast tracts of rolling, cultivatable country which has been subject to extensive improvement over the past years”.

Yet on the South Island’s Mount Cook station the owners have recently paid the government $2 million to buy back the carbon credits and have been undertaking a programme to remove the pine trees, many of which were self sown, and turn the land back into productive farmland.

The contrast in thinking is stark and it appears the Labour government favours the interests of overseas carbon speculators over rural Kiwi communities as it has done nothing to halt these farm conversions despite promising to do so nearly 18 months ago.

It can move at lightning speed to put in place legislation that throws thousands of essential workers out of jobs because of mandates yet move at a snail’s pace to protect productive farmland from being turned into profit for foreigners selling carbon credits so that big polluters don’t need to change their practices.

While farm owners deserve the best price possible for their properties, the wider interests of the community and the country need to be factored into any property sales.

In this case, government owned Landcorp could have purchased whatever shareholding was necessary to keep the farm in production and in New Zealand hands, and progressively sold down its holding to potential Kiwi farmers.

A zero interest loan from the Reserve Bank would have accomplished that at no cost to taxpayers.

That would have been good for the country, the East Coast community, the suppliers, the shearers and other contractors involved, and for up and coming Kiwi farmers.              

There’s still time for the government prove whether it is governing in the interests of Kiwis or overseas carbon speculators and step in to stop the sale.