Southland owners for Jericho Farm

Ed Pinckney (right), his fiancee Jaimee Pryde and their dog Kara join Ross Hyland, who helped mentor Mr Pinckney in his fight to buy Jericho Farm over the last year.

The overseas company that won the bid for Landcorp's Jericho Farm has withdrawn its application for the property, but the question remains why the review process took so long in the first place.

A year ago, news broke that a Chinese buyer had put in the highest bid for Landcorp's Jericho Farm in Fiordland, but this week the buyer withdrew its application from the Overseas Investment Office (OIO).

Landcorp will now sell the farm to Riverton dairy farmer Ed Pinckney for approximately $8.5 million.

Landcorp head of communications Simon King said it expected the sale of the farm to be completed by the beginning of June, and it had no other farms currently for sale. 

Mr Pinckney said he heard the news on Tuesday morning after what had been a long-fought battle. He said he saw a lot of appeal and potential in developing the sheep and beef farm in Fiordland as a chance to grow his business.

"It's been a big year of hard work and a lot of battles, and a lot of times where we didn't think we were going to get it."

New Zealand First List MP Mark Patterson campaigned against the potential sale in last year's election, saying in a Facebook video it was "ground zero" of the foreign ownership debate.

But since becoming MP he said he knew as much about what was going on behind closed doors as the rest of the public, calling it a "complete fog". As frustrating as it was, Mr Patterson recognised the closed process was meant to protect it from political influence. 

The bigger issue was the "torturous" and "incredibly inconvenient" wait time the decision had taken.

"A resolution was reached by the Chinese buyer, not the OIO. Maybe he was pre-empting a decision but that's not clear to me yet."

Now that the decision was public, Mr Patterson said he would investigate why it had taken a year for this decision to be finalised. 

"I don't think this is fair on anyone."

OIO chief executive for policy and overseas investment Lisa Barrett said they were notified of the bidder's decision on Monday (April 9). However, she declined to answer questions about how far away the OIO was from making a decision.

Regardless of the wait, Mr Pinckney wanted to thank the public for its support over what had been a long year.

"I've got to be grateful for the support from the community, really. 

"It's an opportunity that I don't underestimate, so given the support of the community, I'll be able to do them proud."


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