Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Mystery benefactor funds Crafar bid

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

Shanghai Pengxin's application to buy the Crafar farms is to go all the way to the Supreme Court after a deep pocketed mystery benefactor stepped forward to bankroll King Country iwi Ngati Rereahu's challenge.

Two Ngati Rereahu trusts who wanted to purchase two of the Crafar farms which lie on ancestral land were part of a consortium led by Sir Michael Fay which was outbid by Shanghai Pengxin for all sixteen properties.

The consortium challenged the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) and Government approval for Shanghai Pengxin's purchase in the High Court and more recently in the Court of Appeal which last month dismissed the consortium's argument the Chinese company lacked the necessary business acumen to run the farms.

Tiroa E and Te Hape B trusts interim chairman Hardie Peni today confirmed the trusts' legal counsel had filed papers with the Supreme Court yesterday.

He said the intention was to again challenge the OIO and minister's ruling around Shanghai Pengxin's business acumen.

Mr Peni said while the Ngati Rereahu trusts were interested in purchasing just two farms, the Supreme Court challenge by necessity involved the entire portfolio of 16 farms.

He said shareholders in his trusts were unable to fund the Supreme Court challenge but "we have another party that has offered to fund us in the best interests of all New Zealanders".

Mr Peni was not at liberty to identify the "well loaded" individual who had made the offer but it was not Sir Michael Fay, he said.

Investment banker Sir Michael Fay, who made millions through his involvement with the privatisation of state assets during the eighties and nineties, last month said he felt "disenfranchised" by the Court of Appeals decision and he was abandoning his challenge to Shanghai Pengxin's bid.

In a statement, Sir Michael said he felt "disenfranchised" as well as disappointed by the decision.

"We are all disappointed - especially our two iwi members - to see this significant parcel of highly productive dairy land pass out of New Zealand ownership."

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 20 Oct 2014 21:30:18 Processing Time: 273ms