The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) assesses applications from overseas investors seeking to invest in sensitive New Zealand assets – being ‘sensitive’ land, high value businesses (worth more than $100 million) and fishing quota. People who are not New Zealand citizens or who do not ordinarily reside in New Zealand must apply for consent to invest in these assets. That requirement also applies to overseas owned or controlled companies, other incorporated or unincorporated bodies, such as partnerships or joint ventures, and trusts, as well as associates of overseas investors (who may be New Zealanders).
To be successful, the proposed investment must meet a number of criteria set out in the Overseas Investment Act 2005 (for ‘sensitive’ land and high value businesses) and the Fisheries Act 1996 (for fishing quota). All decisions to grant or decline consent are published by the OIO.
Planning on making an application?
The application process involves clearly defined transparent requirements. However, anyone making an application should seek professional legal and land advice as early as possible.
Selling a high value New Zealand asset?
There are a number of requirements for selling sensitive New Zealand assets. They vary depending on the asset. For example, farmland generally has to be offered on the open market for at least 20 working days, and ‘special land’ must be offered back to the Crown. In all cases, sales agreements need to factor in OIO assessment times.