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Fisher and Paykel takeover bid worries opposition

Published: 7:06PM Monday September 17, 2012 Source: ONE News

The Government is coming under pressure to stop iconic Kiwi appliance maker Fisher and Paykel from falling into Chinese ownership.

Chinese company Haier last week launched a take-over bid for the company but opposition parties say it is the type of innovative company New Zealand cannot afford to lose, and is a further sign of a crisis looming in the country's manufacturing sector.

"The Government cannot stand aside and watch New Zealand manufacturing ripped out from New Zealand ownership," said Labour finance spokesperson David Cunliffe.

It is unlikely the deal would face any major hurdles if it is submitted to the Overseas Investment Office as, unlike the Crafar farms, the company does not hold sensitive land.

However, the Green Party said the Government could still stop the deal to protect jobs and innovative technology.

"It depends on the economic test that is applied," said Green Party co-leader Russell Norman.

"If we had a proper economic test it implies that this deal should not go through."

Prime Minister John Key would not be drawn on whether ministers would intervene in a takeover but accepts the deal could have some negatives.

"Well in terms of being gone from the sharemarket that is a little disappointing but they have committed to having a New Zealand head office," he said.

Key said Kiwis need to see both sides of such deals.

"There is a lot of cash out there in these fast developing nations and they are looking to invest but on the other side of the coin KiwiSaver does give opportunity to invest."

Export leaders are worried about deeper problems for Kiwi manufacturers struggling with the high kiwi dollar and fear more companies will get snapped up.

"The association is really concerned," said New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association President Brian Willoughby.

"There is a lot of stuff going on the background that we are concerned about and there doesn't appear to be a debate about it."