Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin, the leading contender to buy the Crafar dairy farms, has yet to give the Overseas Investment Office "key information" about its $200 million offer, delaying any decision on it until the new year.
Shanghai Pengxin's local subsidiary, Milk New Zealand Holdings, lodged its application to buy the 16 Crafar farms in April. The OIO aims to deal with applications within 70 working days.
The application was one of the first to be considered under new investment rules set by the National Government after public anxiety about foreign investment in productive land, stoked by Hong Kong-based Natural Dairy NZ's abortive bid for the Crafar farms.
The Green Party has called on the Government to indicate when a decision on Shanghai Pengxin's offer will be announced.
"Given the proximity of Christmas, it would be in the public's interest to know when exactly the Overseas Investment Office will make its final decision," co-leader Russel Norman said.
"A successful bid by an overseas company for a significant chunk of New Zealand's productive farmland will have implications for our future as a nation which relies on dairy for export earnings.
"Announcing any decision a day or two before Christmas will likely stifle public debate on an issue which has vital significance for New Zealand's economic sovereignty."
An OIO spokesman said Milk New Zealand's application was still under assessment.
"There is some key information that is still outstanding, so the OIO is not yet in a position to submit its report to minister," he said.
"The OIO does not know at this time when a decision will be made."
On that basis, the spokesman said it was unlikely the OIO's decision, which then has to receive ministerial approval, would be reached before the Christmas break.
The OIO considered it was still within its 70-working-day timeframe to reach a decision because it excluded time spent waiting for additional information from applicants.