It is really hard for me to see the compelling national interest that would require the government to step in and block the sale of a farm to a foreign company. It is even harder for me to see why Cabinet would overrule the Overseas Investment Office on it, other than populist politics.
And so I have a proposal. Whenever Cabinet decides that the OIO got it wrong and moves to block a sale to a foreign company, Cabinet should have to compensate the seller for the loss.
The NBR reports that the offer price was $88 million and that the farm has a CV of $70 million. If there were a domestic offer at CV, the government should have to pay the station’s owners the $18 million difference.
I’m happier to believe Cabinet assertions of a compelling national interest when they’re willing to incur an on-budget expense rather than impose losses on somebody else.
This kind of nationalist populism trumping the OIO is unbecoming of a National government.