The economic nationalism and calls for protectionism seem ironic given the fact that Fonterra itself is a large multinational, which in addition to having farms in China, has since 2002 been in partnership with global food giant Nestle in the Dairy Partners Americas.
Southern Pastures, registered in Auckland, is seeking $500 million from local and offshore investors to initially buy outright, or controlling shares in, farming concerns throughout the southern hemisphere, but with a bias towards New Zealand.
The most unbelievably naïve reaction to the news that a mysterious Chinese company is hoping to buy up to $1.5 billion worth of dairy farms came from Federated Farmers, which said that this is an “unintended consequence” of the NZ/China Free Trade Agreemen
The China Jin Hui Mining Corporation - recently renamed Natural Dairy (NZ) Holdings - says it has agreed to buy the Crafar family farms as well as other assets including farmland, cattle, and milkpowder production plant.
An ambitious project pooling New Zealand's farming expertise has received a fillip from Emirates Investment Group. Through EIG, there are two large Pakistan projects on the cards, one involving a 35,000ha farm.
Chris Kelly, chief executive of the country's largest corporate farmer, Landcorp, says he knows of other initiatives being explored and believes there will be more foreign investors knocking at New Zealand agriculture's door.
The Serious Fraud Office has been brought into the controversy over a Maori trust's move to buy thousands of hectares of prime Southland farmland, after revelations that an alleged fraudster is involved: bankrupt Australian "kaumatua" Shane Wenzel.