The Government's decision to allow foreign ownership of the Crafar farms is not in New Zealand's interest," said the Green Party today.
"As food prices rise globally, selling off our productive land − such as the Crafar farms − to overseas bidders is economic folly," said Green Party Agriculture spokesperson Steffan Browning.
Mr Browning was responding to the Government's decision today to allow the sale of the 16 Crafar farms to a subsidiary of the Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin.
"Foreign ownership of the Crafar farms means that the profits will flow overseas, adding further to our current account deficit. In the 12 months to September 2011, $15.2 billion flowed out of New Zealand to overseas owners of New Zealand companies and debt," said Mr Browning.
"The sale of the Crafar farms to Shanghai Pengxin contributes to the foreign land grab New Zealand is experiencing.
"One of the dreams of sharemilkers is to save enough money to buy some land and become a dairy farmer. But that dream is fast disappearing as the price of land is driven up, in part, by overseas corporations buying up land.
The Green Party has a policy to ensure that New Zealand land remains in New Zealand ownership. Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman introduced a Member's Bill in 2010 which rules out overseas ownership of farmland over 5 hectares.
"This simple measure would take some of the pressure off rural land prices, making it easier for New Zealand families to buy a farm, and will also help our current account deficit, as more profits will stay in New Zealand," said Mr Browning.
"The decision to allow foreign ownership of the Crafar farms is short-sighted. When it comes to our productive farmland, we must keep it kiwi."