The Green Party has failed in its bid to ban the sale of farmland to foreigners after a cabinet minister told parliament it was xenophobic, anti-Chinese legislation.
The Green Party's bill was voted down 61-59 on its first reading in parliament on Wednesday night despite opposition warnings that foreign governments were buying up land to protect their own national interests.
"We should protect ours," said Green MP Steffan Browning.
"Our land is the goose that lays the golden egg - we should sell the golden eggs to the world but not the goose, or ours will be cooked."
Associate Finance Minister Jonathan Coleman described the bill as "damn stupid" and accused the Greens of being "Luddite visionaries" who wanted to take New Zealand back to the 11th century.
He suggested it was "something they've cooked up over a joint out the back" - a comment he was ordered to withdraw - and said if the bill was passed it would be a national embarrassment.
Labour backed the bill and Dr Coleman said the party's Chinese MP Raymond Huo was going to find it difficult to explain that to his constituents.
"He has to explain why Labour supports xenophobic anti-Chinese legislation... the Greens and Labour are going to take us into a very difficult space internationally," he said.
Labour's finance spokesman David Parker said there was no economic advantage to selling dairy land and New Zealand could lose control of the industry if ownership went offshore.
He said Labour thought the bill went too far and there should be exemptions, but that could be fixed up during its later stages.
The Greens, Labour, NZ First, the Maori Party and Mana voted for the bill. National and its support partners ACT and United Future opposed it.