Editorial: We can't afford to shun investors

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We don't  like it but can we avoid it? Chinese investors have been given approval to purchase the Crafar farms, amid a storm of opposition and there's a real sense of panic about it all.

Winston Peters has dubbed it "economic treason".

New Zealand has always been a target for foreign investors - be they golf course developers, tourism operators like those who have over the years purchased several resorts and hotels or primary industry investors.

People fear that given the huge food supply needs of China, what's produced on the Crafar farms will go straight there and New Zealanders will see none of it. There's also the possibility of production going overseas which could see Kiwis out of work and our own exporters out of pocket.

None of that would be good. However, as Federated Farmers has pointed out, the Overseas Investment Office (OIO), which has approved the sale to Shanghai Pengxin Group, must be able to conduct its business without fear or favour and without having to take public opinion into account.

If we were selling our home we wouldn't let someone tell us who we could sell it to. The Crafar farms are not public property and the receivers' job is to get what they can.

A group which wanted to buy the farms to keep them in Kiwi hands, led by Sir Michael Fay, now gets the chance to review the decision and conditions before it becomes final and will no doubt do a very thorough job.

There isn't enough money in New Zealand to keep everything Kiwi-owned and we can't keep it all Kiwi at all cost. We need outside investment.

What's crucial is that the OIO ensures the Chinese buyers comply with the sale conditions and that if any of those are breached, it comes down on them like a tonne of bricks. We can't just blame the receivers, the OIO and the Government. How did things get so out of control with the Crafar farms that they ended up in receivership in the first place?

- Bay of Plenty Times

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