Emergency screening of overseas investments to end, as economy recovers


The temporary regime, introduced to protect New Zealand assets from falling unnecessarily into foreign ownership during the COVID pandemic, will end on 7 June.

The emergency notification regime was introduced in mid-2020 as a precaution to minimise the risk that cornerstone businesses would be sold to overseas investors contrary to the national interest. 

“The temporary power was put in place to protect Kiwi businesses from being snapped up and opportunities potentially lost as they recovered from the damage caused by the pandemic,” David Parker said. 

Finance Minister Grant Robertson, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and David Parker have completed the fourth 90-day review of the regime to assess whether the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic justified it remaining in force. 

“Our successful management of the health impacts of the pandemic and the recovery of the economy, with lower unemployment and stronger growth than forecast last year, mean we can remove the temporary protection. 

“This is another welcome sign that the economic recovery continues apace,” David Parker said. 

The repeal of the emergency notification regime will take effect on June 7 and bring into place a narrower national security and public order call-in power. This allows screening of investments in strategically important businesses that do not normally require consent under the Overseas Investment Act, such as those involving the acquisition of military technology or critical national infrastructure. 

The call-in power is part of the Government’s reform of overseas investment rules and adds to the changes to rules covering foreign purchases of housing and farmland.  

The reform aims to strike the right balance between facilitating productive investment and managing risks where they arise. 

More information can be found on the Overseas Investment Office’s website.