Isaac Davison

Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Joyce accuses Labour of xenophobia over Lochinver Station deal

Steven Joyce. Photo / Glenn Taylor
Steven Joyce. Photo / Glenn Taylor

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has accused Labour of "xenophobia" in their opposition of the potential sale of Lochinver Station to the Chinese company that bought the Crafar Farms.

Mr Joyce and Grant Robertson, economic development spokesman for Labour, appeared on TV3's The Nation this morning and discussed the sale.

Mr Robertson said under Labour the sale would not go ahead.

"Our criteria would definitely mean that a sale like this would be highly unlikely."

Mr Joyce said the opposition were "electioneering" in relation to the issue.

"When did [Labour] go out and oppose the purchase of James Cameron's land?"

"A little xenophobia from the Labour Party to start the day," he said.

Mr Joyce said the Lochinver Station was a "ridiculously small amount of land" in the North Island to sell off.

The Lochinver sheep and beef farm site is valued at $70 million and covers 13,800ha.

Shanghai Pengxin controversially purchased the Crafar Farms in 2012 for $200 million, which was the largest-ever foreign acquisition of New Zealand land by value.

Pengxin also owned a 74 per cent stake in 13 farms in the South Island.

Yesterday, Conservative Party leader Colin Craig revealed the company's plan to buy up more New Zealand land in a speech in Hastings.

He accused the Overseas Investment Office of keeping the deal secret until the election.

Speaking to a Grey Power meeting in Hastings this afternoon, Mr Craig said his party would block all substantial land sales to foreign buyers - a policy already proposed by New Zealand First, Labour and Greens.

Mr Craig said: "Although the deal has been agreed between the parties, and the Overseas Investment Office have received an application, the deal has not been disclosed to the public," Mr Craig said in a statement.

"We believe voters should be aware of what's going on behind closed doors, this is clearly an election issue."

Mr Craig said Conservatives would oppose all large, productive land sales and change the Overseas Investment Office criteria "so that our country is not sold up".

"The National party waved through the Crafar Farms deal against our national interests and doubtless will do the same with Lochinver station.

"We are standing up for Kiwis who want this country to remain New Zealand owned," he said.

-APNZ contributed to this article

- NZ Herald

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