PM defends decision to block sale of Lochinver

By Bernard Hickey –

PM defends decision to block sale of Lochinver to Shanghai Pengxin; says decision not political; ministers made independent decisions; says public debate over foreign land sales not hurting National in polls.

Prime Minister John Key has defended the decision by two of his ministers to reject the sale of the Lochinver Station near Taupo to Shanghai Pengxin, telling an audience of New Zealand and Chinese business leaders in Auckland that the decision was not political.

Key said the decision announced on September 17 by Associate Finance Minister Paula Bennett and Land Information Minister Louise Upston was made independently of the rest of the Government and based on the merits of the bid under the current interpretation of the Overseas Investment Act, which specifies any foreign bid must deliver more net benefit for New Zealand than an equivalent ‘counter-factual’ New Zealand bid.

The Overseas Investment Office recommended on balance that – more