Maori set to challenge farms sale

19:37, Sep 03 2012

Maori trusts are expected to this week challenge a Court of Appeal decision clearing the way for the sale of the Crafar farms to Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin.

The court last month dismissed legal challenges from a farmer group led by Sir Michael Fay and the Tiroa E and Te Hape B trusts to the long-running attempt by Pengxin to buy the 16 North Island Crafar farms, which have been in receivership for nearly three years.

Fay has walked away from the fight, but it is understood the trusts, which want to buy three farms in the central North Island that they claim are ancestral land, will go it alone in challenging the decision in court tomorrow. It is possible the court may not accept the trusts have a case to test.

The trusts represent Tu Wharetoa and Ngai Rereahu.

Pengxin is to contract state- owned farmer Landcorp to manage the farming estate, fulfilling a condition of the Government's consent for the purchase.

Landcorp has been acting as Pengxin's representative for the potential sale of the three farms to the Maori trusts, which claimed Landcorp had offered to sell them for $66.5 million. The purchase price for the 16 farms has never been revealed. Fairfax NZ

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