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$75,000 attempt to derail judicial review

12 Feb 2020

From Chris Leitch , Leader


Lawyers acting for Westland Milk and its new owner, China’s Hong Kong Jingang Ltd, have launched an attempt to derail Social Credit’s judicial review of the Overseas Investment Office decision on the sale of Westland Milk Products.

Despite claiming that Social Credit has little chance of success in its High Court judicial review, lawyers Simpson Grierson have thrown big money behind an application to the court for the party to stump up with $20,000 surety for each company ($40,000 in total) to cover their clients’ legal costs, even though the same lawyers are acting for both companies.

"If they were as convinced of that as they claim to be, they wouldn’t need to rack up a big legal bill for their clients trying to defend the Overseas Investment Office’s decision" says party leader Chris Leitch.

That decision will be defended by lawyers from the Crown Law Office in any event, which has not sought security for costs.

Lawyers bills involved in the ‘security for costs’ action alone are likely to amount to another $35,000.

Simpson Grierson know, from publicly available information, that Social Credit does not have big business donors, or fancy funding foundations, but rather sources its support from small individual donors, so is clearly hoping the surety amount they’re seeking will be enough to cause the party to withdraw the case.

It won’t be.

The judicial review challenges the Overseas Investment Office handled the decision last year to approve the sale of Westland Milk Products to Hong Kong Jingang, a company wholly owned 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.

Social Credit has a long held policy opposing foreign takeovers, and the sale of land into overseas ownership.

The Party is seeking financial support in its fight. 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).

The security for costs hearing is in the High Court tomorrow.

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