Application Assessment & Timeframes
On this page:
- Application assessment process
- Assessment timeframes
- Lapsing applications
- Requests for priority
- Factors influencing turn-around times
The consent application assessment process comprises several stages. These stages are shown in the following diagram and detailed below.
Step 1 – Quality assurance (QA) check
When the OIO receives your application, it performs an initial assessment (‘QA Check’) to ensure:
- it contains sufficient information for full consideration by the OIO; and
- is accompanied by the prescribed fee - Regulation 30 of the Overseas Investment Regulations 2005 provides that a fee must be paid when an application is made.
If the OIO accepts your application, it will assign it to an OIO Solicitor to assess, otherwise the OIO will return it to you with an indication of the additional information and/or fee that is required.
Step 2 – Application assessment
Once the application has been accepted, a key step in the assessment process is identifying the “relevant overseas person” and, if that person is not an individual, the “individual(s) with control of the relevant overseas person” (refer section 15 of the Overseas Investment Act 2005). The OIO will notify you of its views on this matter.
During the assessment process the OIO may request further information and consult relevant third parties.
Step 3 – requesting statutory declarations and drafting conditions of consent
The OIO will request the following statutory declarations:
- a declaration verifying that the information contained in the application is true and correct (refer section 23(1)(d) of the Overseas Investment Act 2005); and
- declaration(s) that the individuals with control of the relevant overseas person are of good character.
The OIO will give you the opportunity to comment on the draft conditions of consent before Ministers (or the OIO under delegated authority) make a decision. However, the decision-maker retains the right to impose different conditions.
Please note that section 28 of the Overseas Investment Act 2005 imposes two conditions on every consent granted, which are:
- the information provided by each applicant to the regulator or the Ministers in connection with the application was correct at the time it was provided; and
- each consent holder must comply with the representations and plans made or submitted in support of the application and notified by the regulator as having been taken into account when consent was granted, unless compliance should reasonably be excused.
Step 4 - Recommendations and decision
The OIO will either decide your application under delegation, or submit its recommendation to Ministers. Ministers are not bound to follow the OIO’s recommendation.
The OIO will advise you of the decision by letter. The letter will:
- if consent is granted, list the conditions imposed on that consent;
- provide an invoice for the application fee paid by the applicant; and
- include a draft decision summary for comment.
There is no statutory timeframe within which an application for consent must be decided. However, the OIO has set its own internal performance targets for completing QA Checks and assessing accepted applications.
Quality assurance (QA) checks
The OIO aims to complete 95% of its QA checks within five working days of receiving an application. The table below shows the OIO’s performance for the period from July 2012 to April 2013:
|Target||Percentage of applications that met target (July 2012 – April 2013)|
|QA Check||95% of applications checked within 5 working days of receipt||99%|
The OIO categorises applications into one of three categories according to the time required to assess them. The OIO will advise you of which category your application falls into when it confirms that the application has been accepted for assessment.
Category 1 applications include:
(a) applications for consent to purchase significant business assets; and
(b) variations to existing consents.
Category 2 applications include:
(a) applications for consent to purchase sensitive land;
(b) applications for exemptions; and
(c) applications where the overseas person is intending to reside in New Zealand indefinitely.
Category 3 applications include:
(a) applications to acquire an interest in fishing quota;
(b) applications that involve special land (being land that includes foreshore or the bed of a river or lake);
(c) applications in respect of which a third party submission has been received by the Ministers or the OIO; and
(d) applications where the Ministers or the OIO have decided that consultation with third parties is appropriate in considering whether or not to grant consent.
The OIO aims to have 90% of applications assessed within the timeframes set out below. Note that these targets exclude:
- time where the OIO is waiting for the applicant to provide further information;
- time spent consulting with third parties; and
- time for Ministers to decide applications.
The table below shows the OIO’s performance for the period from July 2012 to April 2013:
|Category of application||Target||Percentage of applications that met target (July 2012 – April 2013)|
|Category 1||90% of applications assessed within 30 working days of active consideration by the OIO||100%|
|Category 2||90% of applications assessed within 50 working days of active consideration by the OIO||94%|
|Category 3||90% of applications assessed within 70 working days of active consideration by the OIO||100%|
The graph below shows the average amount of time taken to assess each category of application from start to finish. This information is indicative only; applicants should in all cases allow as much time as possible for the assessment and determination of their application.
Applications can be lapsed if information requested by the OIO isn’t provided by an applicant within certain timeframes. These include:
- 20 working days - from the date the OIO requested it - to provide further information; and
- 10 working days - from the date the OIO requested it - to provide statutory declarations referred to in Step 3 above.
If the requested information hasn’t been received by the OIO within the timeframes above - and the OIO has not extended the timeframes - the application may be lapsed. An applicant who wishes to continue with the proposed investment will need to make a fresh application and pay a new application fee.
The OIO does not give priority to a particular application, except in very exceptional circumstances - for example to accommodate other statutory timeframes, such as those under the Takeovers Code. Any request for priority must include a detailed explanation for the urgency. It is your responsibility, as the applicant, to ensure that:
- the relevant agreement(s) allows sufficient time for the OIO to assess the application; and
- the application is lodged in a timely manner.
- The amount of material that needs to be analysed: Applications may take longer to assess if a substantial amount of information has been provided that needs detailed analysis (e.g. substantial ecological reports).
- Further information requests from the OIO: The OIO may require additional information from the applicant during the assessment process which could affect timeframes.
- The quality of the application: Low quality/poorly prepared applications will take longer to assess and will require the OIO to request further information. Please:
- avoid making vague and unsubstantiated claims about the benefits likely to flow from the proposed investment;
- ensure that your application follows the application format suggested by the OIO; and
- avoid providing superfluous material.
- Whether the OIO needs to consult: The OIO may need to consult with other government agencies or third parties before making a recommendation or decision, which could increase the time required to assess an application.
- Any special features of the application: The application may take longer to assess if it is particularly complex, has significant features or is borderline in terms of satisfying the “benefit to New Zealand” criterion in the Overseas Investment Act 2005.
- The availability of Ministers: If the decision requires Ministerial consent, the timeframe will be affected by the Ministers’ availability.
- Whether or not the decision maker requires further information: Ministers may request the OIO to consult further with third parties, clarify information with applicants, or impose additional conditions of consent, which could increase the time it takes for a decision to be made.