A usually (90%+) reliable source has since told me that Ministers have recently been told that the company with the live bid is owned by the Chinese government.
They can of course afford to pay more because it is the thin end of the wedge – a strategic investment in a move towards vertical integration that would result in an even high percentage of value being added offshore. And of course the establishment of the beginning of a massive chain of farms – because the principle would have been accepted.
And Key is desperate not to offend by turning the bid down – as he indicated was likely pre election.
So look for a further delay in decision making until after to bid lapses in a fortnight.
All because Key hasn’t got the gonads to say no.
And to make it clear, it is my view that there is no reason whatsoever to sell these farms offshore. To anyone. Landcorp could probably hock off a couple of its non core farms and then buy Them all using its very strong balance sheet to raise debt finance for the balance.