Land Purchase Backlash
New Zealand plans to tighten controls on foreign land purchases amid fears that the Chinese acquisition of local farms may not be in the country’s strategic interests, in particular after a fierce public backlash against a Hong Kong-listed firm that attempted to buy New Zealand’s biggest private dairy farm. Natural Dairy — previously known as the China Jin Hui Mining Corporation — offered to pay $1.5bn for farmland, cattle and milk powder production plants, according to the domestic media. This bid for the Crafer family’s farms — now under review — has stirred up considerable concern in a country that depends on the dairy industry for almost a quarter of its export earnings. The Federated Farmers of New Zealand say planned Chinese purchases of arable land are unfair because foreign firms are forbidden from acquiring similarly large swathes of farmland in China.