The PeriOIOdical - February 2017

28 February 2017

He waka eke noa - We’re all in this together

Tena koutou

This edition of the PeriOIOdical celebrates a number of significant milestones for the Overseas Investment Office.

Firstly, the new application templates are now available on our website. These make it clear to advisors and applicants what information we need. We are confident that these will enable us to assess applications more efficiently, and that they will reduce the need for ‘to and fro’ exchanges of information and consequent delays.

We encourage you to start using these templates – it will make the application process much smoother for you and your clients. Thank you to everyone who has helped us make these changes.

We have also published our enforcement strategic priorities and criteria on our website. These support our increased focus on enforcement and make our enforcement function transparent for investors, advisors and others. You will also see a Report a Breach button on the website – please tell us if you suspect a breach of the Overseas Investment Rules.

Also new on our website is new guidance about identifying relevant overseas persons and individuals with control, assessing good character, and making counterfactual submissions.

With the December Cabinet reshuffle, Hon Mark Mitchell (Minister for Land Information) and Hon Simon Bridges (in his role as Associate Finance Minister) are now the primary decision makers. The Office is working to support them as they get up to speed with their new roles, and, with your help, will be keeping them busy!

Lesley Haines
Acting Deputy Chief Executive OIO

This issue covers:

Our new Application templates

Our new application templates are available on our website for you to use with all future applications.

Draft templates were tested by some volunteer advisors using live applications. The volunteers were Ryan Turner (Russell McVeagh), Susie Kilty (Buddle Findlay) and Catherine Reid (barrister). We are very grateful for their support, and for the detailed feedback they gave us about the draft templates.

We have made some significant changes as a result of their feedback – including reducing all formatting (eg. logos, colour, numbering requirements etc.) to a minimum making it easier for you and your clients to use them.

Russell McVeagh said that “In our view, the OIO have done a great job with the new template application forms, which should make the application process significantly smoother for both the OIO and applicants.”

Catherine Reid commented that “The new templates will help applicants prepare high quality applications and present the required information in a clear and logical format.”

We are of course delighted with this feedback and are confident that other advisors and their clients will also find the new templates very helpful.

The Application templates include:

  • Application for Consent
  • Investment Plan
  • Vendor Information Form

You will no longer need to complete a Required Information Checklist as the relevant information and guidance is now incorporated into the new templates.

We have compiled template packs for each of the following types of applications:

  • Residency-based
  • Significant business assets
  • Sensitive land OR Sensitive land and significant business assets

The website also includes more detail about how you can customise the templates to best suit you and your clients.

We strongly encourage you to start using the Application templates for all future applications, so that you can give us all the information we ask for, in the order we need it. This is likely to result in your application being processed more quickly by reducing the need to ask you for more information.

We know that some of the draft versions of the templates are in circulation – if you have one of the earlier versions, please get rid of it and use the new templates on the website – they’re even better than the drafts!

We want to make sure the templates remain fit for purpose for you and your clients, and for us. We welcome your feedback on how well they are working for you, and any suggestions you have for improvements. You can send your feedback to oio@linz.govt.nz

We will update the templates from time to time and will tell you when updates become available.”

New guidance

Along with our new Application templates, we have also developed some new guidance to assist you with:

This new guidance clarifies what type and level of information you need to include with an application. We encourage you to read and follow this guidance - it will help to make the application process smoother and quicker for you and your clients.

Enforcement

The OIO Enforcement Team has been busy identifying key strategic priorities they will use to prioritise their work.

The strategic priorities go to the heart of the integrity of the overseas investment regime; identifying the types of behaviour and assets where we are likely to focus our assessment of possible breaches of the Overseas Investment Rules. Together with our enforcement criteria, the priorities guide the enforcement activity we will undertake and what tool we might use where we believe someone has broken the rules.

You can find out more about our strategic priorities and enforcement criteria through the newly updated sections on the OIO website. You can also find out more information about what to expect when we investigate a matter and the type of tools we might use.

The newly laid out website also enables you to report a possible breach of the rules to us through a "report a breach" form.

Farewell

After over 11 years’ service with the OIO, Group Manager Annelies McClure left on 31 January 2017.

Over that time, she oversaw the growth of the OIO - from about 6 people in 2005, following the disbanding of the Overseas Investment Commission and a move to LINZ, to nearly 30 today. During her time at LINZ, she has also guided the OIO through some very challenging times.

We wish Annelies all the very best for the future.

Updates to our website

The front page of the OIO webpages has been changed to make it easier for you to find the information you need.

We have added some quick links on the top right to popular pages, including to the Application templates and decision summaries.

We have also added buttons - including one for people wanting to make a third party submission.

The change may mean links to content that people have previously saved may not work. If this happens people should use the search facility on the site, or you can bookmark pages for future use.

We will continue to look for ways to help people find what they need to.

Exemptions

The Overseas Investment Amendment Regulations (No. 2) 2016 took effect on 1 February 2017. The Regulations implement the five exemptions consulted on in September 2016. A summary of the submissions received during consultation and the government’s response is available on the Treasury’s website.

During consultation Treasury also received submissions on ideas for potential further exemptions. A summary of these ideas is included in the summary of submissions. The Treasury has been consulting with the OIO and will be providing advice to the Minister of Finance on these ideas in the first quarter of 2017.

Organisation structure of the OIO

We have implemented a new structure in the Overseas Investment Office.

Lesley Haines is Deputy Chief Executive Overseas Investment Office (Acting). Lesley is supported by four managers:

  • Samantha Naidoo: Manager Applications
  • Jenna Reid: Manager Applications (Acting)
  • Kirsty Millard: Manager Enforcement
  • Katy Cook: Manager OIO Operational Policy (Acting).

We will be making some changes to other job titles over the next few months and will keep you informed. We are also working through how work will be distributed between our two application teams.

In line with changes announced by our Chief Executive Andrew Crisp, LINZ’s Policy and Overseas Investment functions will soon become the new group, Policy and Overseas Investment. Recruitment of a permanent Deputy Chief executive, Policy and Overseas Investment is underway.

We are also seeking new staff for the applications teams, and to support ministerial servicing. If you know anyone who you think may be keen to join us, please pass this information on to them. Thanks! The LINZ careers centre has details about roles we are currently advertising.

Connecting with our stakeholders

Overseas Investment Act – Advising Clients webinar

Kirsty Millard and Jenna Reid will be presenting a webinar titled ‘Overseas Investment Act – Advising Clients’ on 14 March 2017. The webinar will discuss the recent changes we have made that impact on applications submitted under the Overseas Investment Act 2005 and the approach we take to enforcement.

For further details see: Overseas Investment Act - advising clients

ASB Lantern Forum

Samantha Naidoo was part of a panel discussion at the ASB Lantern Forum in Auckland earlier this month. The forum aimed to connect with around 200 Chinese delegates, political leaders, migrants and business people; and focused on trade and investment between China and NZ.