Green Minister accused of ‘rubber stamping’ land sales (implementing the law)

Minister of Land Information Eugenie Sage has been accused of allowing land to be sold to ‘foreigners’, but Sage says she is implementing the law as her job requires.

Critics seem to expect that Sage should change the way things are done ‘because the Greens are in Government’, but the Green Party doesn’t have to power to change how laws are implemented, nor to change laws to suit green activists.

RNZ: Green MP Eugenie Sage accused of ‘rubber-stamping’ land sales to foreigners

Eugenie Sage is being accused of continuing National’s practice of “rubber-stamping” the sale of sensitive land to foreigners.

New figures reveal the land information minister and Green MP has approved nearly every application to cross her desk over nine months, rejecting just 30 hectares out of almost 60,000 hectares.

Former Green MP Sue Bradford is warning the news will stir up more disquiet among the party’s supporters after an earlier backlash over Ms Sage’s decision to allow a Chinese water bottling giant to expand.

“Her role is meaningless. The party’s role is meaningless,” Ms Bradford told RNZ.

She was shocked Ms Sage approved the sale of so much land to overseas people.

Bradford doesn’t seem to understand how multi party MMP governments work. Ministers don’t get to do whatever a few activists from their party demand.

“You’d think that either [the Greens would] move their person out of the role or they’d negotiate a damn sight harder with their coalition partners about changing policy on it.”

If Green ministers couldn’t do whatever party activists wanted they should resign? That would give them even less say over how things are done.

Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa spokesperson Murray Horton said the approval rate made a “mockery” of the government’s promises to curb foreign investment.

“The Greens need to be a bit bolder, frankly. They’re in government for the first time ever.

“They have a mandate from their members and the people who vote for them to actually establish a point of difference.”

But they don’t have a mandate from the country, they only 6.27% of the vote. That is nowhere near a democratic mandate.

Between 1 November and 26 July, Ms Sage approved 21 applications covering about 55,957 hectares. She turned down two requests relating to 30 hectares.

But Ms Sage said most of approved land – roughly 40,000 hectares – related to the sale of Mount White Station, a sheep and beef farm in Canterbury.

In that case, the Czech buyer already had permanent residency and his wife and children were New Zealand citizens.

“There was very limited opportunity for discretion because … it had only been triggered as an application under the Overseas Investment Act because he was out of the country for a period.

“I’m bound by the law, and as a minister, I implement the law.”

Many of the other applications related to forestry which was a government priority area, she said.

“We need more investment in forestry to meet the billion trees’ commitment to ensure that we are sequestering enough carbon to meet our climate change objectives.”

Ms Sage rejected claims she was acting in the same way as her predecessors, pointing out that she had turned down two applications in nine months.

“Under National, I think you had one application – Lochinver – turned down during their period in government.”

Not a big difference in numbers.

The government extended the Overseas Investment Office’s oversight in November and banned house sales to most foreigners in August.

Ministers also directed officials to review the Overseas Investment Act with changes expected by 2020.

So some changes have been made and more could change this year. These things take time in Government.

Sue Bradford has proven in the past she can act on her principles, but idealists outside parties and outside Parliament can’t do anything but criticise what happens within the democratic process.

Dissatisfaction of Government by green activists risks dividing the Green Party and reducing the power they do have. It wouldn’t take much for them to drop out of Parliament altogether, and then they would have much less ability to change anything.

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34 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  16th January 2020

    How much land was sold by foreign owners to NZers or held by foreign owners who then became NZ citizens?

    Reply
    • artcroft

       /  16th January 2020

      And how many of these people had Chinese sounding names?

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  16th January 2020

        and how much land was sold in China to people with English sounding names?

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  16th January 2020

          You want NZ to be like China, B?

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  16th January 2020

            Simon must do…he snuck off there to meet their secret police on a private visit arranged by ex spy trainer and National list M.P Dr [deleted – use correct names]

            Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  16th January 2020

        Race matters why?

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  16th January 2020

          Foreigners can buy residential property in China.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  16th January 2020

            Yes, effectively. Although all land is leased from the state there is an automatic right of renewal and transfer when buildings on it are sold.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  16th January 2020

              They can only buy one and can’t rent it out.

            • Duker

               /  16th January 2020

              Maximum of 70 years doesnt sound like ‘automatic right of renewal’ to me. Could that be like UK leasehold where the asset becomes the land owners at that time , in practice you would have to ‘buy the lease all over again’

              And then theres this
              “China boasts the world’s biggest population with nearly 1.4 billion inhabitants (although India will take that title by 2030). Nonetheless, there are plenty of houses available for everyone to buy.

              Estimates place the number of unsold properties in China at over 50 million. That’s more than 1/5th of the entire country’s total private housing supply.

              The government also curbed mortgage lending to reduce the number of speculative purchases and second/third home sales. Very few Chinese citizens are buying houses in order to actually occupy them anymore.”
              https://www.investasian.com/2018/11/14/buying-property-china/

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  16th January 2020

              The PDTs who disagree that foreigners can buy houses in China can google it.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  16th January 2020

              So can duker if he doesn’t understand there is an automatic right of renewal when the 70 yr lease expires.

  2. Blazer

     /  16th January 2020

    National is and has always been the party that promotes selling off NZ.
    They also like to fast track citizenship for people they …’like’.
    They are a pack of shameless ,venal lightweights,them and their ‘open’ economy.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  16th January 2020

      It wasn’t National who liked Karl Sroubek; it wasn’t John Key who was in correspondence with him.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  16th January 2020

        I thought you and Maggy would be writing letters to him inside…given he makes both of you go weak at the…knees.

        Reply
  3. Duker

     /  16th January 2020

    She’ll be pushed down the list come election time, which is likely anyway as its currently not gender neutral being way over represented by women. That came about because 2 male MPs last time left the party right before the election. Is it curtains for Chloe and a goner for Golriz too ? or will the real weighting of 2 to 1 in favour of women be formally adopted?

    Reply
    • artcroft

       /  16th January 2020

      The Greens have already stated that their over representation of women is to bring balance to Gaia. Being female Gaia is bad at maths and asked to evenly divide ten, arrived at 2 and 8. This also why Labour, when promising to balance the books, were out by BILLIONS.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  16th January 2020

        Tut, tut. I am barely numerate, but my mother wrote the maths textbooks used in NZ schools (she was one of the writers)

        Reply
        • artcroft

           /  16th January 2020

          My apologies to your mother. Clearly a talented woman.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  16th January 2020

            My grandmother was a lecturer at Queen’s (Belfast) in applied sciences, maths and engineering. I am a languages and Eng Lit girl.

            Reply
      • Duker

         /  16th January 2020

        ” why Labour, when promising to balance the books, were out by BILLIONS.”
        That they never did… you are confused again with the promise to stay within the ‘debt ratio’ for their first term. Digging that hole for Joyce even deeper are you

        Reply
  4. Zedd

     /  16th January 2020

    Eugenie & the Greens are C&S partners in this coalition Govt… just doing their jobs, BUT as per usual; there are some (staunch Righties) who attack everything they do & say; with labels like ‘Loony left’ &/or Socialist/Commies etc.

    Meanwhile; when Team-Key & Co. were in power.. selling off everything that was available (public housing & farms etc.) to the highest bidder (often foreigners, with ‘chinese sounding’ names).. they could reportedly ‘do NO wrong’. Methinks thats called ‘double standards’ ? eh wot :/

    Reply
    • artcroft

       /  16th January 2020

      Key was also good at procurement. He purchased most of the head space available to the left, as evidenced by their constant bleating about him in every post.

      It was a golden age so i can understand that they miss him.

      Reply
    • Corky

       /  16th January 2020

      Double standards don’t win elections.

      Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  16th January 2020

      Most people reading your comment, Z, would think that somewhere you had found a Rightie criticising Sage for selling land to foreigners.

      However I know you just wrote the first thing that came into your head and actual facts are irrelevant to you.

      Reply
      • Zedd

         /  16th January 2020

        ‘However I know you just wrote the first thing that came into your head and actual facts are irrelevant to you.’ sez AW

        ho hum.. at least I have a mind/opinion of my own… B-S is irrelevant too 😀

        Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  16th January 2020

      Chinese people arrived in NZ many generations ago. The Chinese name could belong to someone whose ancestors arrived in the 19th century, but the person named Jones could have just come from the UK. The names that Labour thought were Chinese were obviously not; how many Chinese are called Patel or obviously English names ?

      Then there are names like Ling and Ching; English and Cornish respectively. Lee can be Chinese, but there are many Pakeha Lees. Brent Ching’s family was Cornish.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  16th January 2020

        No, ignorant PDTs, Brent Ching is not Chinese. Ling is an English word meaning either heather or bracken. Lee is not uncommon in the UK as a surname.

        There were Chinese people here in the Gold Rush. The nineteenth century one. There are photos of them.

        Patel is not a Chinese name. Nor were others such as Smith.

        Reply
  5. Cory

     /  16th January 2020

    Yep, perception is everything. The perception among average Green non thinkers is that Sage is a traitor. I think the Greens will split after National destroys their coalition at the next election. What form these Green factions take will be excellent entertainment for us Righties as we watch the sustainable bamboo gloves come off and the Greenies get down and dirty.

    More grist for furiously grinding mill.

    Reply
  1. Green Minister accused of ‘rubber stamping’ land sales (implementing the law) — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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