LO C A L
Rising stars get into action The Samoan players who are part of the Pacific Rising Rugby Stars have kicked off their training at the International Rugby Academy NZ (IRANZ) – the world’s leading independent high performance Rugby Academy. Pita Semeane and Iosefo Ropati Lafo arrived in Palmerston North last Sunday and have been in intensive training since. The first phase of the course concentrates on skill discovery, team building and tactical training, mental and physical preparedness all essential skills for professional rugby players. Running for three weeks, the IRANZ High Performance Players’ course will arm these players with mental, physical and technical knowledge to help them advance in their rugby careers. The team is being coached by all-time rugby greats such as Graham Henry, Murray Mexted, Christian Cullen, Aaron Mauger, Craig Dowd and many other internationally renowned players. Speaking from the camp IRANZ’s Managing Director and former All Black Captain Murray Mexted gave an overview of the first phase of activities. “The Digicel team arrived eager to get in to training and have now settled in well with the rest of the attendees. So far we’ve been working with the boys to build team spirit, test physical boundaries and to assess mental preparedness. “Now it’s about harnessing the natural talent of these players and equipping them with the tools, tactics and mental strength to play at a professional level,” he said. To follow their progress and get daily updates visit the Digicel Facebook pages for the three contributing countries.
Digicel Samoa Rising Rugby Stars Lafo and Semeane
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Sir Michael ﬁghts sale
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04 FEBRUARY 2012 WEEKEND OBSERVER
A – 21-22-23-28-29-30/01 & 4-5-6-11-12-13-18-19-20/02
Sir Michael Fay Tom Pullar-Strecker Fairfax A bid led by former Manu Samoa owner, Sir Michael Fay to stop the sale of the Crafar farm estate to China’s Shanghai Pengxin is underway at the High Court at Wellington. The consortium of farmers is challenging ministerial approval of the $200 million sale, which was granted last week after a recommendation by the Overseas Investment Office. The group’s lawyer Alan Galbraith told the court at least one of the individuals controlling Pengxin personally needed to have business expertise and acumen relevant to the investment for it to be legal. However, he said they intended to be passive investors. He said the OIO had said state-owned farmer Landcorp, which has proposed to operate the farms for Pengxin, would provide the “required specialist dairying experience”. Galbraith said all Pengxin was bringing to Crafar Farms was money, not experience or acumen.
Justice Forrie Miller said the argument appeared to rely on a “strict concept” of what relevant experience might entail, noting it had been suggested Pengxin could help sell more New Zealand dairy products into China If the sale went unchallenged, any overseas firm, such as Microsoft, could buy sensitive New Zealand land, he said. “All they would need to do is hire a local manager and you are away.” Justice Forrie Miller said the argument appeared to rely on a “strict concept” of what relevant experience might entail, noting it had been suggested Pengxin could help sell more New Zealand dairy products into China. However, Galbraith said there was also no evidence Pengxin had experience importing foodstuffs into China, which he said was “a difficult business”. Galbraith said that if the sale was blocked, farmers belonging to Sir Michael’s consortium would be likely to individually acquire the 16 farms, which he said had a combined land area of 5990 hectares. He noted the farms had not be offered for sale individually before they were offered to overseas buyers. Galbraith said that made “no sense at all” given the sensitive status of rural land was wellreflected in New Zealand legislation and that its purchase by foreigners was a “privilege”.