Marlborough land deals go ahead

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 12:38 02/06/2014

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Three of the six land purchases approved by the Overseas Investment Office in April were in Marlborough.

The OIO, the Government agency that oversees the purchase of sensitive land by foreigners, last week published decision summaries for six purchases. Two of those were wineries expanding their vineyards in Marlborough and one was for forestry.

French and British-owned Cloudy Bay Vineyards bought about 34.6693 hectares at Delta Lake Heights, Waihopai from the Delta Wine Company for an undisclosed price.

Delta Wine Company is owned by Thomson Wine Investments Limited, New Zealand (30.27 per cent), The Marlborough Company Limited, New Zealand (30.27 per cent), David Charles Gleave, Britain (19.73 per cent), and Saint Clair Estate Wines Limited, New Zealand (19.73 per cent).

The decision summary said Cloudy Bay was a long-established owner and operator of vineyards in the Marlborough, which had established itself as a pre-eminent wine company in New Zealand. Wines produced by Cloudy Bay were exported to more than 30 countries worldwide.

It wanted the Waihopai land and the vineyard on it in order to continue to produce high-quality pinot noir in larger volumes and meet its expanded pinot noir sales targets, the office said.

The OIO said the transaction satisfied the "substantial and identifiable benefit to New Zealand" criteria in the law by providing jobs and increased export earnings, and the company had previous investments in New Zealand, which had their viability enhanced by the purchase.

The other vineyard purchase was by American company Constellation, which bought about 12.1400 hectares in Redwood Pass, Marlborough.

The land was bought from Andrew Graham, for an undisclosed price.

The decision summary said Constellation had bought the land to expand its vineyards and winery business.

The "substantial and identifiable benefit to New Zealand" criteria were satisfied by providing jobs, increased export earnings, greater productivity and efficiency, as well as increased processing of primary products.

The third purchase was Ernslaw One, owned by the Tiong family of Malaysia, of 513.8880 hectares in Marlborough's Waihopai Valley.

Ernslaw One bought the land for $780,000 from Peter Thomas Smith, the decision summary said.

The land would be converted into forestry, with Ernslaw One planning a pine forest.

The company already owns Waihopai Valley forestry holdings.

The office said the "substantial and identifiable benefit to New Zealand" criteria were satisfied by providing jobs, increased export earnings, greater productivity and additional investment for development purposes, as well as protection for indigenous vegetation and fauna and greater walking access. cathie.bell@mex.co.nz

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- The Marlborough Express

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