New Zealanders Opinions on Foreign Farm Sales

October 6, 2010 New Zealand FinanceNew Zealand Taxation

Sheep!A new survey has found that New Zealanders largely do not support the concept of local farms being sold to foreign investors, regardless of who they employ or where they pay their taxes.

In response to recent political and social discussion on foreign investors purchasing into New Zealand farms, a new survey has been released which examines New Zealanders’ opinions on the topic. The survey was conducted by Curia Market Research on behalf of Natural Dairy (NZ) Holdings Ltd and released on October 6th.

Overall, nearly 65 percent of New Zealanders agreed that local farms should not be purchased by non-New Zealand investors, while only 28 percent thought that they should be sold to the “highest bidder”. According to Curia the sentiment was strongest among the elderly and the female survey respondents.

Survey respondents’ answers shifted somewhat when asked whether their opinion would differ if the farms were to employ only New Zealand residents. Nearly 55 percent would approve of foreign owners on the condition that all employees are locals. Similarly, 54 percent stated that the origin of the owner doesn’t matter, on the condition that they pull a fair amount of taxes in New Zealand. When questioned on their opinion on foreign ownership if more money was invested into improving farm technology, 52 percent still said they did not support foreign ownership.

Respondents were also asked on their discomfort with foreign owners based on their original citizenship. Chinese and American citizens were reportedly the groups that made respondents the most “uncomfortable”, in regards to farm investing. Almost 80 percent replied that they were “uncomfortable” with Chinese owners, and 71 percent felt similarly about American owners. Australia was the most accepted group, with only 52 percent of people feeling “uncomfortable” with the idea.

Photo by buck82