National promises to allow farmers to buy state-owned land

National promises to allow farmers to buy state-owned land
Photo credit: Getty

The National Party has promised to allow farmers to buy state-owned farms after they're worked the land for at least five years.

Money generated through the scheme would then be "invested in public services".

Primary industries spokesperson Nathan Guy said on Thursday there's "no clear public good coming from Crown ownership and little financial return to taxpayers".

Nathan Guy.
Nathan Guy. Photo credit: Newshub.

In the year to June 30 in 2017, Landcorp had an after-tax profit of $51.9m on revenue of $233.5m. A portion of that revenue was generated through land sales - with three properties sold for $16m. An overseas investor bought Jericho station for $8.7m in April, although a local farmer offered $8.5m for the land.

Mr Guy said the farms are better off in the hands of farming families, and they would be sold through a lease-to-buy arrangement.

"National will direct Landcorp to lease these farms to young farmers, and give them the opportunity to buy them at market rates when they have built up enough capital."

Leases would be awarded by ballot, with young farmers with experience running a farm given priority.

Any farmer taking up the scheme would be required to work the farm for at least five years before being able to buy it off the Crown, or longer if they need more time to find the money.

Mr Guy said National encourages sustainable farming techniques, and those wanting to buy Landcorp farms would have to "demonstrate a commitment to sustainable farming methods, and outline their plans to continue to do so".

Mr Guy said a number of Landcorp farms are subject to Treaty claims and iwi have a right of first refusal to some others.