If you are selling farm land or an interest in farm land (for example, securities in a company that owns farm land) it must be advertised on the open market before an application for consent to purchase can be made. This ensures New Zealanders have a fair opportunity to purchase the land before it is offered to an overseas person.
There are exceptions to the advertising requirement. You may be automatically exempt or able to apply for an exemption.
Automatic exemption – Gazette notice
A 2016 Gazette notice provides for class exemptions from the advertising requirements.
The notice exempts several types of transactions, including when:
- the farm land, or interest in farm land, is being acquired by the overseas person from a family member
- the farm land shares or securities are quoted on a securities market.
If these class exemptions apply you do not need to apply for an exemption.
However, the application for consent to acquire the farm land must include information about the relevant class exemption from advertising that is being relied on.
Apply for an exemption under Section 20
If you are not eligible for a class exemption you may be able to apply for an exemption under section 20 of the Act.
Section 20 allows for decision-makers to exempt an investment from the advertising requirements by reason of the circumstances of the investment or the nature of the land. To grant an exemption, the decision-maker must consider the circumstances are such that:
- it is necessary, appropriate or desirable to provide an exemption, and
- the extent of the exemption is not broader than is reasonably necessary.
An application for an exemption from the farm land offer criterion is best made in advance of an application for consent. This is because advertising of farm land is a criterion for consent which cannot be satisfied after an application is submitted if the farm land exemption is declined.
If granted, the advertising exemption will usually be published and may be subject to conditions.
If you plan to seek an advertising exemption, contact us about it before you apply.
Exemption fees are outlined in the fees schedule.