Key denies backlash over Crafar sale

There has been no rural backlash against the National Party over the Crafar farms sale, Prime Minister John Key says.

The proposed sale of the 16 farms to Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin hit a legal snag last month after High Court Justice Forrest Miller ordered the Overseas Investment Office and ministers to reassess their assessment of the economic benefits of the deal.

Mr Key has reportedly received more than 100 emails opposed to the sale, including emails from longtime National supporters and farmers.

But today he denied there has been a rural backlash against National, saying there had been a number of contentious issues during the time he has been prime minister, and 100 emails was not a large number.

"Pretty much on any issue in New Zealand I'll get 100 emails, and sometimes I get 10,000 emails if it's a significant issue. So there's a mixture of views, no doubt about that,'' he told TV One's Breakfast show.

Mr Key said the Crafar farms sale was not the main issue farmers raised with him.

"Certainly I've been around a lot of rural events - the Waimumu Field Days, the Golden Shears on Saturday night - and that's not really the issue they're coming up and talking about,'' he said.

"Some farmers come up to me and say `Look, I own the farm, it's my property right and I should be able to sell it to whoever I like.' Others say they don't want want the farmland going overseas. There's definitely a range of views but I don't see it hurting National support.''

Mr Key said Crown Law was seeking advice on Justice Miller's decision but there was no timeframe yet for when that advice would be returned.

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