COMMENT:

I was impressed with Mark Mitchell's defence yesterday of the work to approve Matt Lauer's purchase of a high country station.

It appears to be a story driven by a couple of things. One, the overriding envy that frequents the minds of too many of us when it comes to foreign investment. We think foreigners are bad, their money is bad, their intentions are bad, and they bring nothing but trouble. And this is our land and we are being robbed of it.

Despite, of course, the fact that in this case Lauer is merely a lessee.

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And two, Lauer is a high-profile target, and has become an even bigger and easier target, due to the fact he appears to be some sort of creep in the workplace.

But surely if we pause long enough, we can accept that at least in part foreign money is vital to our economy, and the rules that operate in these sort of land deals add value to our country and the land itself.

In this case it was a farm in trouble, it was losing money, it needed investment.

The rules that apply mean you have to add value, the country has to gain in a tangible and demonstrable way as a result of the deal.

All of that has happened.

And here is one of the ironies. Under local management we got no access; under foreigner management we do.

And now, having got that, as is so often the case with lobby groups, instead of accepting the gains they've achieved, they try it on again and suddenly its unfettered access by car they want.

It's not a free for all. They are taking the mickey, but they get traction and headlines because, once again, we let our xenophobia get the better of us and its makes for easy news and finger pointing.

And as Mark Mitchell also pointed out, the farm was put onto the market, for all and sundry to have a crack at.

Did we take up the opportunity locally? No, we did not.

We could just have easily done what Matt Lauer did, but we chose not to.

And yet having passed on the chance, we then start the campaign of whinging.

And if you were the couple running that farm, looking to get off the land after a lifetime of work, what is your property worth if the only people you can sell it to are us, and not a single one of us are interested?

It's worth nothing. And what is the point in that?

So we have an improved property. We have investment made on the land, we have access we never had, we have a transaction that would not have taken place.

It's win-win all round. There is no downside to the deal.

So why can't we see the good news when it's staring us in the face?

And celebrate it instead of looking for more trouble?