Ikea owners buying 1118ha for forestry

Companies associated with Ingka Group, the largest franchisee of Ikea stores internationally, have received consent to buy more sheep and beef farming land in the South to convert to forestry.

Yesterday, the Overseas Investment Office released its April decisions, including a successful application by Ingka Investments Forest Assets NZ and Ingka Investments Management NZ, from the Netherlands, to acquire about 1118ha of land on Koneburn Rd at Waimumu.

The applicants were owned by Ingka Investments B.V., the investment arm of Ingka Group, one of 12 different groups of companies that own the Swedish furniture and homeware giant.

In a statement, the company stressed the property — like its other two New Zealand acquisitions — would be planted in plantation forestry, not used for carbon farming.

Koneburn, owned by Brian and Dawn Copland, had been in the Copland family for four generations. For the past 27 years, it had been leased by Mr and Mrs Copland’s daughter, Deborah, and her husband, Jon Wood.

The sale price was withheld. The decision summary said the applicant had been granted consent to acquire the land under the special test relating to forestry activities.

Last year, it got consent to buy 5500ha sheep and beef station Wisp Hill in the Owaka Valley and it acquired the 610ha Old Hill Rd property in Central Hawke’s Bay in April.

The summary said the company intended establishing and maintaining plantation forest — predominantly radiata pine — over parts of the land at Koneburn assessed as being best suited to forestry.

It estimated new planting of about 977ha of the land which was best suited to planting after allowing for infrastructure (4.9ha), native plantings (52.5ha), unplantable (43.3ha) and various setbacks (31.3ha).

It proposed to subdivide and sell about 9ha, including a house and three sheds.

The land use class (LUC) details for the land were LUC Class 3 (about 194ha) and LUC Class 6 (about 921ha). Class 1 land is best for sustained agricultural production, while class 8 land has severely limited uses.

In a statement, Ingka Investments Forestland portfolio manager Andriy Hrytsyuk said, once the purchase was completed, Ingka Investments would "apply the same principles of responsible and prudent conversion of Koneburn Rd property to a production forest using the same successful approach it is undertaking on the Wisp Hill and Old Hill Rd properties.

Ingka Investments hoped to be a "good neighbour" and engage with the community.

At Wisp Hill, contract labour had been accessed locally and 300ha of gorse had been removed. The first 274,000 of three million seedlings had been planted — including more than 40ha of manuka with the potential to support up to 200 beehives — and 20km of new, all-weather roading had been laid, he said.

 - The OIO has also granted consent to Ikea to buy Auckland land for its New Zealand retail debut.

sally.rae@odt.co.nz

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