OVERSEAS INVESTMENT IN FARM LAND TO BE TIGHTENED

  • Winston Peters
Deputy Prime Minister

The Government will amend the Overseas Investment Act 1973 to strengthen the requirement that foreign investment in farm land is in the national interest, Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Winston Peters, announced today.

"This amendment gives effect to the Coalition Agreement's commitment to enhance the Act to ensure that overseas investment contributes to increased growth and employment for New Zealanders," Mr Peters said.

As a result of this initiative, future applications for foreign investment in farm land will only be approved where it will, or is likely to result in substantial and identifiable benefits to New Zealand.

The Government also intends to give favourable treatment to overseas buyers of farm land who hold permanent resident status.

In addition, the area of land that includes or adjoins foreshores requiring Overseas Investment Commission approval will be reduced from 0.4 to 0.2 hectares. The Overseas Investment Act 1973 will also be amended to incorporate this.

The Government will shortly be issuing a written directive to the Commission confirming that the amended "national interest" test for sales of farm lands also requires;

overseas investment in farm land makes a material contribution to the local or New Zealand economy, and the farm land has been fairly marketed domestically.
The amendment will also specify that the "national interest" test for farm land sales is whether overseas investment will or is likely to result in;

the creation of new job opportunities in New Zealand, or the retention of existing jobs in New Zealand that would or might otherwise be lost; or
the introduction of new technology or business skills; or
the development of new export markets or increased export market access for New Zealand exporters; or
added market competition, greater efficiency or productivity, or enhanced domestic services in New Zealand; or
the introduction into New Zealand of additional investment for development purposes; or
increased processing in New Zealand of New Zealand's primary products.
"The new initiatives will make it much clearer that farm land sales to overseas investors need to result in substantial and identifiable benefits to New Zealand," Mr Peters said.

The Government is still developing policy relating to asset sales by local bodies or consumer trusts, said Mr Peters.