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New Zealand farms sale to China blocked

A New Zealand court has halted the sale of 16 dairy farms to Chinese investors.

A High Court Judge, Forrest Miller, ruled yesterday that the New Zealand government overstated the economic benefits that Chinese investors would bring in approving the sale.

The Shanghai Pengxin company had planned to spend more than NZ$200m (£107m) buying and improving the farms in the first such deal involving Chinese investors.

The plans drew criticism in a country that relies on agriculture for much of its export earnings. A consortium of local farmers and businessmen, who want to buy the land, were behind the appeal.