Social Credit is calling on the government to step in and stop the sale of Huiarua Station on New Zealand’s East Coast.
If the sale to foreign buyers gets overseas investment office approval, the 5000 hectare farm will be turned into pine trees, inviting the kind of future devastation that raged through Patagonia less than 12 months ago when fire burnt through more than 22,000 hectares in just a few days.
The sale will also 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 Bayleys real estate “Huiarua station offers 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”.
For Forestry Minister Stewart Nash to cry crocodile tears and say “I’d be very disappointed” if the sale proceeds and a 5000-hectare station is taken out for carbon forestry, is pathetic.
It’s over 12 months since Labour promised to do something about of these farm conversions yet it appears nothing has eventuated.
They 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 can continue without needing 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 shearers and other contractors involved, and for up and coming Kiwi farmers.
There’s still time for Hon. Stuart Nash to get off the beach, go back into his Beehive office and take action.