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Westland Milk sale approved by High Court; Minister raises concerns about 'sovereign assests'

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Thursday, 18 July 2019, 2:40PM
The approval comes after shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour. (Photo / File)

An economist has poured cold water over concerns from Shane Jones that 'sovereign assets' are under threat.

Today, the High Court's approved the sale of Westland Dairy to a Chinese dairy giant.

The High Court takeovers panel has today approved the sale to the Inner Mongolia Yili Company for $588 million.

The Overseas Investment Office also cleared the sale earlier this week.

Government approval was needed because Yili would be taking over more than $100 million of significant business assets, and almost 5 hectares of residential land.

Prior to the approval, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones said he wants Overseas Investment Office rules to be tightened to save 'sovereign assets' and fears more of the dairy industry will end up in foreign hands.

But economist Cameron Bagrie told Mike Hosking says Jones is missing the point.

"The court just ignores a fundamental problem. new Zealand is a nation of spenders, we've not great savers, so every year we've got a current account deficit."

He says every year, we've either got to sell off some more assets

"It's a basic savings and investment imbalance."

94 percent of Westland's shareholder voted in favour of the sale earlier this month, but six former suppliers have kicked back.

They say they're owed $11 million from shares not yet paid out.

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