How to Apply for Consent
On this page:
- Application format
- Illustrating ownership structure
- Standards for presenting a consent application
- Privacy and confidentiality
- Application assessment and timeframes
- Decisions and fees
Recent updates relevant to this guide:
24 April 2009: New Designation and Delegation Letter
All applications are made by way of letter with supporting information. As the evidence and information required for each application varies significantly, there is no standard application form. However, the OIO provides a suggested format and sets clear standards for presenting sensitive land applications.
Consent is only required if you are an overseas person as defined in New Zealand’s legislation and the property is considered “sensitive” land. Find out if consent is required or consult your lawyer and/or a lawyer with significant experience in overseas investments.
Applying for consent generally requires significant legal and land expertise. Please consult your lawyer and/or a lawyer with expertise in overseas investment applications. For help finding and engaging a lawyer in New Zealand, please contact the New Zealand Law Society. Note that the OIO cannot give legal advice or consider draft applications.
Significant business assets and fishing quota
The standards and suggested format for significant business assets and fishing quota applications are similar to those in this resource. For further information about consent criteria and information required in an application, see significant business assets and fishing quota or contact the OIO.
Applicants may wish to use the suggested format provided below in Annex 1. The format also contains tips and guides to help complete an application.
Note that the OIO will not begin processing an application if it has not been signed by every applicant or does not include the prescribed fee.
All applications should be addressed to:
Overseas Investment Office
Land Information New Zealand
PO Box 5501
The OIO will seek additional information from an applicant if further clarification is required during the assessment process.
Once the OIO has received all relevant information (including responses to all further information requests), the OIO will request a final statutory declaration verifying that information contained in an application is true and correct. From the date the OIO requests the final statutory declaration, the applicant has seven working days to supply the documents. If the declaration is not received within this time, and an application to extend this time is not made, the OIO will administratively "lapse" the application.
The OIO requires a diagram illustrating the current ownership structure of both the applicant and vendor companies.
The diagram should identify the names of shareholding individuals and companies, and the percentage of ownership or control interest. Various public investors and shareholders can remain unidentified, for example "New Zealand Public".
Example ownership structure diagram
Download this diagram to enlarge or print a copy (pdf 10KB). You can also download the diagram as a Microsoft Visio document (vsd 47KB) to use as a template.
Submitting a high quality, well prepared and analysed application to the OIO will help improve turnaround timeframes. Assessment processing will take longer for applications not meeting these standards.
Applicants should supply both an electronic and hard copy of the application letter and all attachments in support of the application.
Please avoid stapling or binding the application letter and attachments. Documents should be collated using bulldog clips and attachments labelled on each page (where possible).
Each page should have the relevant appendix number - otherwise they become meaningless when the documents are scanned. Please provide the original bound copy of company reports and other commercially printed documents.
The electronic copy must be an exact replica of the hard copy, scanned or otherwise provided electronically. Every document must be on a clearly labelled CD or DVD.
Documents should be in PDF, RTF or Microsoft Word or Visio formats and scanned in black and white (unless the document contains essential colour). Use text or line art settings wherever possible so that content can be copied and pasted. Applications that require manual data entry can slow turnaround times.
Applications submitted to the OIO are a public record. The OIO publicly releases a short summary of every consent that is granted or declined. However, the OIO may withhold the existence of an application or the information contained in an application in accordance with the provisions of the Official Information Act 1982.
Find out more about privacy and confidentiality.
There is no statutory timeframe within which an application for consent must be decided. However applications generally fall into one of three categories according to complexity with category 3 being the most complex. These categories provide a guide for how long it may take for a decision to be made:
- Category 1 applications, where the OIO aims to make decisions within 30 working days from the date of registration. Examples include:
(a) applications for consent to purchase significant business assets,
(b) "sensitive land" decisions delegated to the OIO by Ministers that don’t fall into the categories below,
(c) variations to existing consents
- Category 2 applications where the OIO aims to make decisions within 50 working days from the date of registration. Examples include:
(a) applications for consent to purchase "sensitive land"
(b) applications for exemptions.
- Category 3 applications, where the OIO aims to make decisions within 70 working days from the date of the registration. Examples 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,
(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.
Note that these targets apply to high quality, well prepared and analysed applications, and excludes the time where the OIO is waiting for the applicant to provide further information and the time for Ministers to consider and make decisions on relevant applications. Assessment timeframes should be factored into any Agreement for Sale and Purchase.
Find out more about application assessment, including turnaround times, lapsing applications and consultation.
An application will not be processed unless it is accompanied by the correct fee. The fee is payable before consent is granted or declined. The OIO cannot refund fees. Where applications are withdrawn by the applicant, and the applicant cancels the cheque in payment of the fees, the OIO will request payment.
The Minister of Finance and the Minister for Land Information have delegated to the regulator (the OIO) many of the powers to grant or decline consent under the Act. In the case of delegated decisions, the regulator fees apply.
The relevant Ministers will generally make the decisions to grant or decline consent where:
- the relevant land is or includes special land, land on other islands, the foreshore or seabed or the bed of a lake, or adjoins the foreshore or bed of a lake
- the substantial and identifiable benefits criterion (section 16(1)(e)(iii)) applies.
However, even if the substantial and identifiable criterion applies, decisions will be delegated where:
- the relevant land is leasehold (other than pastoral lease land) or the interest being acquired is an interest as mortgagee or encumbrancee, or
- the relevant land does not include any other land of a type listed in Table 1 of Schedule 1 or
- the relevant land does not adjoin land of a type listed in Table 2 of Schedule 1 or
- the only ‘sensitivity’ is that the land is non-urban and more than five hectares.
See the schedule of fees, as well as the current Ministerial designation and delegation letter (pdf 981KB) .
This website provides general information only. The OIO and LINZ do not assume any responsibility for giving legal or other professional advice and disclaim any liability arising from the use of the information. If you require legal or other expert advice you should seek assistance from a professional adviser.