China 'disappointed' with Lochinver decision

China 'disappointed' with Lochinver decision

After a 14-month wait for Government approval, the $88 million sale of Lochinver Station to Chinese buyers has been blocked.

"We will not be approving that application," Associate Finance Minister Paula Bennett said today.

Government ministers overruling the Overseas Investment Office refused to sign off, instead stamping "consent declined" on the deal.

Lochinver is a massive 13,800 hectares, but the sale to Shanghai Pengxin may have provided just three new jobs and Ms Bennett said that didn't pass the test.

"[It's] 35 times bigger than your average farm, and to turn around and think - potentially one job and a couple of contractors, is that an identifiable and substantial benefit to New Zealand?"

The decision is a big call against powerful China but Ms Bennett isn't worried.

"I've got no idea how the Chinese government will feel," she said.

3 News asked the country's embassy, with a spokesman saying:

"We are certainly very disappointed, and will keep following the situation very closely. We hope the New Zealand Government could equally treat foreign investment, no matter if it's from China or anywhere else."

Shanghai Pengxin, which is owned by China's 88th richest man Jiang Zhaobai, has hinted at legal action.

"We are surprised and extremely disappointed with the decision and will be considering our options," he said.

"That's their rights under New Zealand laws," said Ms Bennett.

The vendors Stevenson Group - a 100 percent Kiwi company - is disappointed too.

"This decision will have significant economic ramifications for the New Zealand economy, particularly in the areas of international relations, uncertainty of foreign investment and rural land prices," the company said.

When the sale first came up, National called opposition to it "xenophobic", but now it appears the party has changed its mind.

Public opinion was always against the sale and now it seems that National has picked that up.

And in blocking the sale, it knows voters won't be disappointed.

3 News