Crafar appeal thrown out

ANDREA FOX
Last updated 16:21 17/10/2012

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Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin hopes to settle its purchase of the 16 North Island Crafar farms before early December, after the Supreme Court threw out the last obstacle to the deal, an appeal by Maori trusts.

Pengxin, preferred bidder of KordaMentha, receivers for the dairy farming estate, has had to wait through 18 months of legal challenges and protests against the purchase, which ended today when the court refused to allow a further legal appeal by central North Island iwi.

Tiroa E and Te Hape B Trusts, which have been negotiating unsuccessfully to buy two of the Crafar farms at Benneydale, considered ancestral land, had asked the Supreme Court for leave to appeal Pengxin's purchase consents by the Overseas Investment Office and the Government, upheld by the High Court and Court of Appeal.

A statement from Pengxin said the purchase of the nearly 8000 hectares of farms had been ''an unbelievably protracted process'' but that it had never considered giving up.

It looked forward to a positive relationships with the dairy industry and the local communities in which it would soon be a corporate dairy farmer.

Landcorp, which is to manage the farms for the Chinese as a condition of Government purchase consent, said it expected to take over the running all the farms early in December.

The purchase will be in the name of Milk New Zealand Holding, a subsidiary of Pengxin.

The farms will be managed under a 50:50 joint venture between Milk New Zealand Farm Management and Landcorp.

Pengxin spokesman Cedric Allan said final steps would now be taken to form the joint venture company and appoint directors and a chairman.Milk New Zealand Holding would set up an office in Auckland soon, he said.   

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