In October 2018, the New Zealand Government announced that the Overseas Investment Act 2005 (the Act) would be reformed. The Act requires an overseas person to get approval (‘consent’) before they take ownership or control of sensitive land, significant business assets or fishing quota (collectively called ‘sensitive assets’). It recognises that it is a privilege for an ‘overseas person’ to own or control such assets. The reform aims to achieve a balance between supporting high-quality investment and ensuring governments have flexibility to manage any risks arising from overseas investment.
This consultation document seeks your views on potential reforms that could:
- better identify the sensitive assets and types of investor that need approval under the Act, and
- improve the way that investments are assessed (‘screened’) to decide if they get approval.
The reform builds on changes made in 2018, in which:
- the Overseas Investment Office’s Ministerial Directive Letter was updated to clarify the treatment of farmland and forestry land (finalised in December 2017),
- the process for acquisitions of interests in forestry assets on sensitive land was streamlined, and
- overseas persons were restricted from buying residential land, forestry rights and other regulated ‘profits à prendre’ on sensitive land without consent.
Public meetings will be held in Auckland (1 May), Wellington (7 May) and Christchurch (8 May). The closing date for submissions is 24 May 2019.