Farm sale points to McVitty

By Patrick O'Sullivan

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Five of the seven Patoka farms recently advertised for sale were owned by controversial Manawatu farmer Robert McVitty.

McVitty Properties and Patoka Dairies were put into receivership over two years ago owing $83.5 million.

The five dairy farms and two run-offs range in size from 120 to 988 ha - a total land area of about 3135 hectares, milking 4400 cows with targeted production more than 1.5 million kg of milksolids. Production is expected to rise further as some farms have only recently been converted to dairy.

They are offered by international tender through Bayleys Real Estate, closing on November 30.

Receivers were called in by the BNZ in March 2010 and they chose to develop the properties further before offering them for sale.

PwC receiver Maurice Noone said it was coincidence that a nearby dairy farm and support block were in a receivership sale at the same time.

In 2008 McVitty was convicted of obstructing and hindering an animal welfare inspector while performing his duties after a Manawatu incident in 2006.

A MAF Animal Welfare Investigator followed a vehicle towing a trailer with a Friesian cow lying across it with its head dangling over the side of oncoming traffic.

The investigator followed the cow and vehicle over 10kms while the sick animal attempted to stand up.

After about 10km the vehicle pulled into a property where the investigator called for a vet. McVitty shot the cow despite the investigator's protestations.

McVitty then blocked the investigator's exit with a large tractor and made threats against the veterinarian, saying he would regret testifying against him in court.

In 2009 McVitty featured on TV programme Fair Go over a $66,000 debt owed to the Central Hawke's Bay widow of fatally-stabbed contractor and hotelier Mark McCutcheon. The debt had stood for eight months, arising from a large silage-making contract.

The couple had bought the historic Sawyers Arms pub on State Highway 50 in Tikokino before he was stabbed outside the Ongaonga pub.

Fair Go investigations revealed McVitty owned 31 properties.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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