Injunction bid against Westland Milk Chinese buyout

The Social Credit party believes it will be in a position to today lodge an urgent injunction to stop the takeover of Westland Milk Products - on the eve of its sale to Chinese interests.

The takeover date for the $588million sale to Yili is tomorrow.

Social Credit leader Chris Leitch, who was on the West Coast for a series of meetings last week, said the takeover would leave Fonterra as the only significant New Zealand-owned processor of dairy products.

The party has been raising funds to mount an injunction and Mr Leitch said yesterday he believed they would be able to file in the High Court in Wellington today.

''We've enough at this stage to lodge an injunction. We are hoping we get sufficient support once it's lodged to proceed with a challenge to the Overseas Investment Office.''

Mr Leitch said feedback had been good. Some people had questioned why they should bother when the decision had been made, but others had congratulated them for trying to do something.

''It's time ... someone stood up for New Zealand business and retaining our assets in New Zealand hands.''

Federated Farmers West Coast provincial president Peter Langford said

he did not ''think Social Credit can do anything at this stage.'' Intervention ''needed to happen three months ago.''

Westport farmer and shareholder Johno O'Connor, a brother of Labour MP and Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor, said:

''Short-term gains are there because of the cash they're bringing in, but long-term I think it's going to be detrimental to our region and the country.'' 

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