High Court rules on Milk New Zealand judicial review

15 February 2012

The High Court today released its decision in relation to the judicial review of Ministers’ decision to grant consent to Milk New Zealand Holding Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of Shanghai Pengxin Group Co. Limited) to purchase the 16 Crafar farms.

The Court approved the Ministers’ approach with regard to the purchaser’s business experience and acumen, but required the Ministers to reconsider the benefits the purchase would bring to New Zealand.

“The Court’s decision potentially affects only 4 of the 21 factors for assessing benefits to New Zealand,” said Annelies McClure, Manager of the OIO.  “We will apply the approach directed by the Court in a new recommendation to Ministers.”

The OIO expects to make its recommendation to Ministers in a matter of days.

Questions and answers

What are the four factors potentially affected by the High Court’s decision?

The factors are contained in section 17(2)(a)(i), (iii), (iv) and (vi) of the Overseas Investment Act 2005.

Will the Ministers or the OIO now let the consortium led by Sir Michael Fay buy the farms?

It is important to note that Ministers and the OIO were not involved in accepting the bids for the Crafar farms. This question is best directed to the receivers, KordaMentha.

Will the judgment affect any other applications?

The OIO considers that the judgment may be relevant to other current and future applications. What affect the judgment will have will need to be considered on a case-by-case basis by the OIO.

The judgment does not affect consents that have already been granted.