Useful Information : Overseas Investors


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Overseas Investment Act 2005

What is it?
  • Protects land of particular significance or importance.
  • Encourages foreign investment that contributes to the economy.
Who must apply?
  • Overseas investors or associates wanting to buy significant non-land business assets for more than $100 million, sensitive land or fishing quota.
  • Non-urban land of 5ha or more is deemed sensitive.
  • New Zealand incorporated companies if 25 per cent or more is owned or controlled from abroad.
How do you pass?
  • Applicants must satisfy criteria, including relevant business experience, financial commitment to the investment and good character.
  • Consent to buy sensitive land will only be granted if the transaction is likely to benefit New Zealand.
  • Some land has additional criteria - farm land must be advertised for at least 20 working day.
Who decides?
  • Under the act the Minister of Finance and Land Information must decide all sensitive land applications.
  • Ministers can delegate decisionmaking, with the Overseas Investment Office deciding about 75 per cent of applications.
  • For sensitive land ministers take 19 factors into account, including environmental and economic, when deciding if it is likely to benefit New Zealand.
How long does it take?
  • The Overseas Investment Office aims to make decisions on high quality, straightforward applications within 50 working days of registration.
What are the penalties?
  • Ranging from $100,000 for not providing information to $300,000 for not obtaining required consent to trying to evade the act.