Episode 17 – The billion dollar question: Selling land to foreign buyers or not?

April 19, 2024In Podcasts4 Minutes

In February 2024, the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) approved seven foreign buyer sales to pine trees under the eye of the current coalition government. 

It has hill country sheep and beef farmers scratching their heads as to whether National and ACT were even listening to the drum being beaten by the “50 Shades of Green” movement at all?

But what about the private property rights of retiring farmers to not have bureaucrats determine the sale opportunities of their farm? 

Guests include:

  1. Damien O’Connor, Labour spokesperson for Land Information 
  2. Conrad Wilkshire, General Manager – Rural, Property Brokers
  3. Tony Leggett, Country-Wide journalist


  1. Rebecca Greaves, Editor, Country-Wide
  2. Sarah Perriam-Lampp, Managing Director, CountryWide Media

The minister previously in charge of LINZ, when we saw a flurry of productive sheep and beef farms go to forestry, Damien O’Connor, says that the current government has removed the need for a Ministerial oversight of approvals of sales to foreign buyers. He shares his view that this is going to ramp up land values, which is unfair to the next generation aspiring to farm ownership. 

Conrad Wilkshire- General Manager of Rural at Property Brokers, explains how policy settings changes have seen OIO approvals go from 80 in 2018 to decisions being declined under the ‘benefits to NZ test’ in an effort to curtail farmland going into permanent forestry for carbon. 

He explains that all land values end up being reflected by policy settings, such as lending in the 1970s based on the ‘land development encouragement loans’ to the early 2000s, resulting in a million hectares being converted to dairy.

In 2022, a group of Kiwis formed a group called Forever Farming NZ as a collective bid to form a syndicate and purchase Mangaohane Station in the North Island. Former owner of Country-Wide and current journalist of the magazine, Tony Leggett, discusses why the sale of this iconic station motivated the group to try and save it from foreign ownership.

Even though the property wasn’t sold in the end when it emerged there was a Waitangi Tribunal claim on the land, Tony explains how the group got real traction and were confident of raising the $40 odd million thought to be needed to purchase the station.



As New Zealand’s largest regional real estate agency, Property Brokers has proudly looked after the real estate needs of provincial New Zealanders since 1986. Our family business started with five people in 1986 and has grown into a team of over 850 strong, with more than 85 branches throughout New Zealand. It’s a business built on hard work, discipline, friendships, and a powerful sense of family. And that won’t ever change. Property Brokers rural people have been farmers, stock agents, rural bankers, valuers, farm advisors and everything in between. They are great salespeople and genuine good sorts who know the market and industry.

Visit https://www.propertybrokers.co.nz/ to have a conversation about your rural property needs today.


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