Selling New Zealand Assets to Overseas Investors
Overseas investors or associates of overseas investors may need to apply to the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) for consent if they plan to acquire:
- sensitive land or an interest in sensitive land (eg by buying shares in a company that owns sensitive land), or
- business assets worth more than $100 million, or
- fishing quota or an interest in fishing quota.
Sensitive land requiring consent
Land will be sensitive if it comes within the types of land and area thresholds detailed in Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Overseas Investment Act 2005. While determining whether land is sensitive can sometimes be straightforward, often significant legal and land expertise is required, particularly if there are nearby waterways. See sensitive land.
Effect on transactions
Applying for consent generally requires significant legal and land expertise. Overseas persons should seek assistance from a professional adviser as early as possible to help ensure a smooth transaction.
A sale and purchase agreement should include a specific condition that the purchaser obtains consent under the Overseas Investment Act 2005 or the Fisheries Act 1996, as the case may be.
Assessment timeframes should be factored into the agreement (ie in calculating the settlement date and the date by which the conditions are to be satisfied).
Find out more about application assessment and timeframes.
Advertising farm land
If you are selling farm land under a sensitive land transaction that requires consent, the OIO will look to ensure the land was offered for acquisition on the open market to persons who are not overseas persons. See standards for farm land advertising.
Offering back special land to the Crown
If the sensitive land includes special land (foreshore, seabed, riverbed or lakebed), the vendor may need to offer back the special land to the Crown before consent can be granted. Note that if the land includes special land, the timeframe for application assessment is generally increased. See offer back of special land.
The Court may cancel a transaction if it determines that transaction was given effect to without the requisite overseas investment consent. A party who was not required to obtain consent can also cancel a transaction.
Please note that applications submitted to the OIO are subject to the Official Information Act 1982. The OIO publicly releases a short summary of every decision that is granted or declined. Learn more about privacy/confidentiality.
The OIO administers the Overseas Investment Act 2005 and the Overseas Investment Regulations 2005. Regulation 33 of the Regulations outlines certain transactions that are exempt from the consent requirement. The OIO also administers sections 56 to 57J of the Fisheries Act 1996, relating to acquiring fishing quota.
- Frequently asked questions
- Lifestyle properties and new migrants
- Determine if a Person is Ordinarily Resident in New Zealand.
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.