Chinese move on Northland

Chinese to spend over $42m on Northland farms

By Mike Barrington
10:00 AM Tuesday May 5, 2015

A Chinese company has announced it has signed an agreement to buy several Northland farms for about $42.7 million dollars.

The purchase of the seven Far North farms owned by Merv and Cara Pinny would be the latest in a string of Chinese acquisitions of properties in Northland and throughout New Zealand.

However, former Far North Mayor, Wayne Brown – who is seeking planning permission to build a milk processing plant near Kerikeri – said yesterday he did not believe foreign interests should be able to buy New Zealand farms.

He said his processing plant project had nothing to do with the Pinny farms. “The Government should encourage the Chinese and others to invest in processing which would add value to Northland products like milk, timber and fish,” he said. “I don’t think they should be allowed to buy land.”

Mr Brown, of Mangonui, is chairman of Northland Milk New Zealand Ltd, which proposes to erect a new UHT milk processing plant on a 78ha site on Greg Flynn’s dairy farm in Wiroa Rd, Kerikeri.

Mr Brown indicated obtaining milk to process should not be a problem, particularly with Fonterra’s current low payout forecast.

The Northland Regional Council has granted approval with conditions for the spray irrigation discharge of up to 300,000 litres daily of treated processing plant washdown water and earthworks for the development of a building site and construction of small dams associated with the project.

The Far North District Council is considering an application to allow construction of the processing building alongside the Top Energy substation site on Wiroa Rd.

Meanwhile, the Pinnys operate seven dairy farms and three dairy support farms ranging in size from 100-600ha south of Kaikohe. Fifty staff milk 3900 cows, producing about 1.2 million kg of milk solids or 15 million litres of milk a season on a milking platform of about 1550ha of freehold land with a further 275ha of neighbouring leased land. Bayleys Real Estate began marketing the farms in October last year and confirmed yesterday they were under contract for sale.

Hunan Dakang Pasture Farming announced it had signed an agreement to buy them for about $42.72 million.

Mrs Pinny declined to comment on the announcement yesterday. She referred the Northern Advocate to Mr Pinny, but he could not be contacted.

Overseas Investment Office views on the planned sale could not be ascertained yesterday.

The Hunan Dakang Pasture Farming announcement said the transaction would be carried out by Dakang New Zealand Farm Group Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dakang Pasture, which is 55 per cent owned by the Shanghai Pengxin Group, involved in many other multi-million dollar New Zealand property acquisitions, including farms and Auckland office blocks.

In Northland, Chinese interests recently bought the Whatuwhiwhi Holiday Park for $8.8 million.

A Chinese firm owns the luxury Carrington Resort which includes a lodge, golf course, restaurant, winery, cafe and restored wetlands on a 1200ha estate on the Karikari Peninsula.

– Northern Advocate

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