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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Going, going...

Labour are on to a winner as they sense and follow populist nationalism over the Crafar Farm sell-off. National risk losing that populist advantage if they allow the Chinese to buy it up, but risk damaging the relationship with China if they try to stop it.

The Nats would prefer Fay & co. find an extra few dozen million to satisfy the reciever, but realistically the Chinese are prepared to out-bid anyone for the strategic beachhead into the dairy supply chain, the security of freehold land tenure and an opportunity to safely store and passively increase the value generated by their trade surplus. That's why talk of a "market price" when Chinese (and ultimately the Chinese government) is involved is not an accurate descriptor in these cases.

NZ Herald: Labour leader David Shearer will visit one of the Crafar farms today to highlight his opposition to a bid to buy the farms by a Chinese company
The Overseas Investment Office is currently considering the bid by Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin to buy the farms, which could then be leased back to Landcorp.

It will then have to be approved by Government ministers.

Mr Shearer said he did not believe the bid added value to New Zealand and would see vast tracts transfer to foreign ownership.

There is no added value - they aren't building anything they are just wanting to take it over and become landlords (if the LandCorp lease-back concept is to be believed). The only "value-adding" there would be is of the purely economic sort where raw numbers matter more than quality and the negative effects on others; probably via the Chinese firm importing lowly-paid Chinese labour and management on the farms to increase their profit margin - they would see this as economic efficiency and productivity and thus "value-adding" but that is not going to actually benefit the local population or this country's interests.

However, the previous Labour government gave preference to Chinese over Canadians in the ability to own strategic assets:

Stuff from 2008: Wellington's electricity network has been sold to a company controlled by Hong Kong's richest man, Li Ka-shing, in a deal the Government is expected to approve.

Cheung Kong Infrastructure, an international infrastructure investor listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, will pay Vector $785 million for the network.

Mr Ka-shing has been a director of Chinese state-owned companies and is thought to be close to the government.
it is unlikely the Government will oppose the sale, though it recently blocked a Canadian pension fund from buying 40 per cent of Auckland International Airport.

The sale is subject to Overseas Investment Office approval and it is likely that Finance Minister Michael Cullen will have the final say. A spokesman from his office said the Wellington network was not on land deemed sensitive, so the test for foreign ownership would be less rigorous than for the airport.

Dr Cullen has said the Government does not consider the network to be as strategic an asset as the airport.

Prime Minister Helen Clark echoed that view, saying last night that because the network was not on sensitive land it would not trigger the same criteria for consideration.

If the Labour government was pro-Chinese there seems little reason the Nats won't be too, and for the same reasons: fear and greed.

The Nat's will most likely continue this policy of selling network and wholesale assets to China as a preferred partner nation that the Free Trade Agreement seems to have established. These precedents - along with the increasingly sychophantic yielding of both parties to the American corporate machine - are being set and they bode ill for this country's economic independence and sovereignty.

It is interesting, perhaps ironic, that China - a victim of European colonialism and the imposition of foreign jurisdictions during most of the last two centuries - and their antithesis, the US - an aggressive colonising, expansionist power with vehemently protectionist articles of faith - should both find their strongest support (and that is to say they have met the weakest defence) in New Zealand. NZ is still a colony - but of whom?

UPDATE | 1:10pm:

The US?

NBR: North Shore district court judge David McNaughton has just released his reserved decision denying bail to Mr Dotcom. His three associates, Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk, will have their bail applications considered today.

Mr Dotcom will remain in custody pending an application by the United States government - specifically the FBI – to have him extradited to face indictments involving about $US500 million of alleged internet piracy, money-laundering and racketeering against the copyrighted film, television and music business.

He has been remanded in custody until February 22.

China (and Japan and other Asian countries attempting to be colonised) were forced by a succession of naval threats and battles into giving the foreign occupying powers a right to extend their laws into areas of these countries - including land laws. Japan fought for years to have the leases that resulted terminated as did China. India eventually took over French and Portugese colonies on the Indian coast after the British left. And here is NZ two generations later letting the outside powers do as they please - wilfully abetting the intrusion of their jurisdiction, acting as their agents.

Locking up gregarious Euro-geeks for the supposed crimes of distributing Hollywood videos without permission doesn't seem justified at all for commercial infringements whose remedy can only ever be financial. The criminalisation of copyright breach into a jailable felony is nothing short of piracy - the word the Hollywood lobby has misused to define the offence. If anyone is hijacking a vessel it is Hollywood hijacking the NZ government and the legal system, not someone making a copy of something someone else has copied - that is the opposite of piracy, they are giving not taking. If anything Hollywood is only entitled to a cut of what Megaupload has made - not some fanciful, inflated figure used to spook the naive and intimidate the judiciary into thinking the losses are real. Only a very small fraction of the people copying would have paid the full, bloated Hollywood price for the downloads.


At 25/1/12 2:07 pm, Blogger Frank said...

It's interesting that Michael Fay stated that the farms weren't commercially viable over a certain price;

""Our offer is at a price we firmly believe makes sense it that we are paying the right price for the long-term farming future of these properties," the group's negotiator Steve Bignell said.

"Over a certain price level, these farms don't work." " - http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/5688311/Fay-group-sticks-with-Crafar-farms-bid

Which implies that the Chinese are buying up farmland around the world with more long-term plans in mind.

With Earth's population estimated to reach 9 billion by 2050AD - whoever controls the food production, controls entire societies.

It's not hard to figure out.

Unfortunately, the Nats seem bizarrely blind to this; http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/farms-politicians-and-emails/

At 26/1/12 12:49 am, Blogger kiwikevnz said...

Is Michael Fay really a any better candidate than the Chinese, whats the difference between the money going to China or Switzerland, remember Michael Fay and his mates stripping of kiwirail, all these years later and its still stuffed

At 26/1/12 2:44 am, Blogger Ovicula said...

I don't see any real difference whether Michael Fay or Chinese capitalists buy these farms. Neither will be likely to look after the workers and neither will have anything but their own interests at heart.

At 26/1/12 8:39 am, Blogger Cameron Campbell said...

Which Canadian pension fund was it, do you know?

At 26/1/12 10:54 am, Blogger countryboy said...

Before I wither back to the dust from whence I came , I'd like to see a Royal Commission of Enquiry into the relationships between our deviant and greedy , kleptocratic , politicians and the likes of Fay , RIchwhite , Kerr , Brierly and Meyers . As I've pointed out before . NZ = massive and filthy rich country . Particularly , given there's only 4.3 M of us . We have dream neighbours , the Aussies and all the better for the fact that they're thousands of kilometers away . We have clean and plentiful water . We have a beautiful land . Great beauty in fact ! Not at all a bad thing in these tattered , worn out, bullet holed times . We have a beautiful and naive land being pimped out by Filth . Our very own Filth ! Does that not make you angry ? As for who's colony might our country become ? Well , a rich mans country of course but who's ?
I was also wondering whether we might become the new State Of Israel when the Middle East goes up like an excellent Chinese fire work for example . What I do know for sure is that if us Kiwis don't rekindle a freshened up relationship with our Sovereign State , Gwait Bwittain ,were fucked ! ( A relationship soured by our very own illustrious politicians who built empires from that very same treason ) ( Oh Jesus ! I hear bellows of indignation coming at me from the ether ! ) paula bennett will be having dirty , sweaty dreams about pitching NZ's low paid and unemployed against Chinese workers , toiling on their farms here for $2.00 a day ! Sound preposterous ? Wake up !


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