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By: Gordon Campbell
So a couple of guys found to be criminally liable of environmental pollution in Argentina lodge an application with the Overseas Investment Office… in order to buy some prime New Zealand rural land. Seems that their factory back home had carelessly and/or intentionally discharged toxic waste into the Lujan river. Bummer. But that’s not what this application is about. This is about their desire to put $6 million on the table as the purchase price for Onetai Station in north Taranaki. Are these two men of good character asks the OIO sternly, them being the fierce guardians of the public interest and all. Pure as the driven snow, says their lawyer, who works for a firm called Mosseck Fonseca, based in Panama.
Right then, says the OIO. Unfortunately, the rules of lawyer/client privilege prevent us from knowing whether the lawyer mentioned that regrettable affair back home on the Lujan River. I’d like to think the OIO did their job and knew about it, though. Otherwise, New Zealand is really in trouble. I’m betting that the OIO looked at the names of the two applicants – Rafael and Federico Grozoksky – and said hey, these are Polish names, on guys from Argentina. Which means they’re probably Catholics, right? If so, that means there’s a distinct possibility that these are good church-going boys who love their Mama. Congratulations. They pass the good character test. And yes indeed, the OIO feels quite OK about them buying prime rural land in Taranaki– provided they promise to sin no more, and to go easy on the toxic chemical spills. Application approved!
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