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The National Party welcomes signs that Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage is backing away from her Green Party’s anti-foreign investor rhetoric and is now approving investments that benefit the economy and create jobs, National’s Land Information spokesperson David Bennett says.

“Ms Sage’s about-face means foreign investment continues to be a crucial element in the mix of funding sources for building homes, commercial construction and much-needed infrastructure projects such as roading.

“Between November 1 last year and July 26 this year foreign investors applied to purchase almost 60,000 hectares of New Zealand land. Ms Sage approved all but 30 hectares of it, representing a 99 per cent approval rate.

“The value of this land sold to foreigners equates to almost $1 billion, compared to the $3.5 million worth of land that was declined.

“This is just another flip-flop for a Minister who has struggled to represent the Greens’ position while holding down her portfolios, like the approval of the sale of land for water bottling when the Greens had campaigned for an immediate moratorium on new bottling plants.

“Attracting quality international investment plays a vital role in our economy and is crucial to creating jobs for Kiwis across the country. For example, in two recent decisions a particleboard plant in Kawerau will create 110 jobs while a new landfill near Wellsford will generate 50-100 jobs.

“In Government, National simplified overseas investment rules, cut red tape and speeded up processing times for applications to make easier for local businesses that need foreign investment to grow.

“It seems as though the Minister has finally listened to the National Party and recognised the importance of foreign investment and the value of the wider benefits it brings to our economy.”

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