Privacy, confidentiality, and sharing of information

Find out what information may be shared or publicly released, and what information may be withheld by the Overseas Investment Office.

The Overseas Investment Office collects information about you to determine if your investment is not contrary to New Zealand’s national interests. The collection of this information is authorised by the Overseas Investment Act 2005 and managed in accordance with New Zealand law.

The Overseas Investment Office recognises the importance of respecting individual privacy rights and maintaining the confidentiality of commercially sensitive information. This informs how your application or notification is managed and the policies, procedures and systems we have in place to support assessment, decision-making and compliance with the Overseas Investment Act. It also provides transparency about what other government agencies we may share information between as part of the assessment, decision-making and enforcement.

The Overseas Investment Office operates within Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand. This statement also applies to systems and services for the Overseas Investment Office provided and supported by Toitū Te Whenua.

Additional information about how personal and confidential information is managed is below.

We collect information to decide whether you are eligible, and to monitor and enforce compliance

The Overseas Investment Office collects information about you to:

  • decide whether you are eligible for consent, approval or authority to invest in New Zealand
  • monitor that conditions are met if we grant consent
  • investigate, monitor, assess and enforce compliance with the Overseas Investment Act.

We are authorised to collect information under the Overseas Investment Act 2005. The information we collect from you will depend on the investment you are making. Each application form provides the specific details of the information required and purposes specific to it.

Generally, the main types of information we will collect about you are:

  • biographic details: your name, date of birth, and evidence of identity (such as a copy of your passport), citizenship and residency status
  • contact details: physical, postal, and email addresses, phone number,
  • financial records: details of financing for the investment transactions, financial statements, details of loans, taxation records, details of other investments in New Zealand
  • business records: information about your character and capability, business structures and relationships, including shareholdings, beneficial interests, directorships and other office holdings.

You can authorise another person to submit information about you or to act as your agent in relation to your application. If you are submitting information on behalf of other people, you will be responsible for ensuring the information you provide is accurate and for ensuring you have the authority to act on their behalf.

The Overseas Investment Office will always notify you of the statutory power it is exercising whenever it requires information or documentation from you. The Office’s statutory information gathering powers are set out in sections 38 to 41E of the Overseas Investment Act.

We can share your information for some purposes

We may share information about you as part of the following purposes:

  • Administering, monitoring and enforcing the Overseas Investment Act 2005. This can include verifying the information you provide, consulting with other agencies in order to make a decision and obtaining additional information to assess whether the application or notification meets the requirements for overseas investment set out in the Act.
  • Meeting information-sharing agreements we have with some New Zealand government agencies.  For example, we share information with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Department of Internal Affairs to verify passport and visa information and travel movements, and to monitor whether a person has become a New Zealand citizen.
  • Sharing information to maintain the law, such as to Inland Revenue; NZ Police, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Serious Fraud Office and other law enforcement agencies, where it is necessary for detecting, investigation, and enforcing the law each agency is responsible for.
  • If required to under the law or compelled to as part of legal proceedings.

The Overseas Investment Act provides for information sharing between government agencies where it is necessary to manage national security and public order risks. Additional information is provided below.

We may be required to make a summary of your application public, and we may be required to release information about your application publicly as part of New Zealand government transparency and accountability requirements including under the Official Information Act 1982. Further information about this disclosure is provided below. 

We keep your information secure

All information collected is held securely by the Overseas Investment Office. The Overseas Investment Office ensures all reasonable management and technological safeguards are in place, and regularly ensures these meet government expectations and standards. Requirements for the safe handling of personal and confidential information apply to all Overseas Investment Office employees, whether permanent or employed for a fixed term, contractors, and agents undertaking business activities on our behalf.

Information obtained or stored digitally is held on servers located in New Zealand and overseas. Back-up of our information stores are provided to ensure accessibility and business continuity.

Access to your information is limited to staff members within the Overseas Investment Office. Some information will be available to Toitū Te Whenua staff members exercising functions that support the functioning of the Overseas Investment Office, such as finance, audit, or information communications technology.

You can access your information and we will keep it up to date

You may request access to the personal information we hold and ask for any information to be corrected. Where information is not corrected, we will provide you with the reasons for not correcting it and will ensure a record of your request is attached to the information you have asked to be corrected.

We may withhold information from you where the Privacy Act withholding grounds apply. These are likely to be when withholding is necessary to:

  • protect the security or defence of New Zealand
  • maintain international relations including where information has been entrusted to the government of New Zealand on a basis of confidence from other governments or international organisations
  • protect trade secrets
  • protect the privacy of other individuals
  • avoid prejudice to the maintenance of the law
  • maintain legal privilege.

A request to delete or destroy information we hold about you will be considered against our obligations to maintain public records.

To make a request, please contact:

Phone: 0800 665 463
International callers: 64 4 460 0110

We keep your information only while we need it

Information held by the Overseas Investment Office is subject to the Public Records Act 2005. Public records must be held for the period determined by the Chief Archivist and then disposed of as directed (for example, destroyed or transferred to Archives NZ).

Sharing to manage national interest, national security or public order risks

National interest

The Overseas Investment Office will consult with other agencies to obtain information relevant to an application or notification as set out in section 23(3) of the Act. Requests will specify the information required. This will require disclosure of relevant details from your application or notification.

National security and public order

The New Zealand government shares information between agencies about transactions from overseas persons to assess and manage risks to our national security and maintain public order as set out in section 126 of the Act. This requires assessing the impact of any overseas investment on New Zealand sovereignty, security, and the institutions that contribute to our social and cultural values.

The following agencies can disclose to each other information each holds where there are reasonable grounds to believe disclosure is necessary for managing national security and public order risks associated with transactions by overseas persons:

  • an intelligence or security agency
  • the Department of Internal Affairs
  • the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • the Inland Revenue Department
  • Land Information New Zealand
  • the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment
  • the Ministry of Defence
  • the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • the New Zealand Customs Service
  • the New Zealand Police
  • New Zealand Trade and Enterprise
  • the Reserve Bank
  • the Treasury.

Other agencies can be included in the list above if provided for in regulations, which must be considered by the Privacy Commissioner.

Any sharing under this section (section 126 of the Act) can only occur with conditions that:

  • prevent any use other than for managing national security and public order risks
  • set out how the information is stored and accessed
  • provide limitations or rules for copying, returning or disposing of copies of any documents provided.

Maintenance of the law

The Overseas Investment Office can collect and disclose information with any other agency where it has reason to believe doing so is necessary to avoid prejudice to the maintenance of the law. We will share information where it is required to assist us or other agencies to enforce the law, including to identify, investigate or prosecute offences.

Publicly releasing information

The Overseas Investment Office may be required to publish summary information about most applications but only some notifications.

Applications, notifications and information about them are public records and subject to the Official Information Act 1982. People can request copies of the information we hold about individuals and applications. The starting point is the information should be made available unless good reasons to withhold it apply. We may consider withholding the information if the information is of a commercially sensitive nature. More information about what and when information would be withheld is discussed below.

We can withhold the existence of an application or notification

If, for reasons provided for in the Official Information Act, there is good reason to withhold the existence of an application or notification from the public, we will not disclose the existence of the application or notification while it is being considered. However, once an application or notification is determined, we may issue a public decision summary.

We can withhold details of an application or notification

We will normally consult with the applicant before releasing any information that is not included in the public decision summary. If you can show that good reason exists for withholding some or all information in respect of the application or notification (but strictly in accordance with the Official Information Act), we may agree to withhold that information. You can reasonably expect your concerns to be taken into account, but you cannot veto release of the information.

You may ask the Office of the Ombudsmen to investigate whether the decision to release the information was reasonable. However, the Ombudsman may decline to investigate if they think an investigation into the complaint is unnecessary. Third parties may seek a ruling from the Office of the Ombudsman as to whether the material should have been withheld by us.

You can make a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner if you believe our disclosure interferes with your privacy.

Reasons for withholding information

While there are a large number of reasons why official information can be withheld, some of those reasons are more relevant to requests made to us. These include:

  • privacy of natural persons
  • free and frank expressions of opinion
  • legal professional privilege
  • prejudice to the maintenance of the law
  • prejudice to a person's commercial position.

A frequent ground for withholding official information is that the release will result in 'prejudice to a person's commercial position'. When a person being consulted believes that official information should be withheld on this ground, they must:

  • identify the prejudice that would likely result to that commercial position if the requested information were to be made available
  • assess how likely it is that disclosure of the information at issue would cause the predicted prejudice to occur
  • explain how that prejudice would be unreasonable
  • explain why withholding the information will not outweigh public interest in its release.

For a detailed discussion of these and other reasons for withholding official information, see the Office of the Ombudsmen's practice guidelines.

Office of the Ombudsmen website - Practice guidelines

Complaints and queries

If you have questions or concerns about how we will manage your personal, confidential information or commercially sensitive information, you can email us at

If you would like to make a complaint about how your personal or confidential information has been managed, send your details and what your complaint is about to the Toitū Te Whenua Privacy Officer. You can email your complaint to with the subject 'Privacy complaint' or post it to:

Land Information New Zealand
PO Box 5501
Wellington 6145
Attn: Privacy Officer

If we are unable to resolve your complaint for you, you can make a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner: - Making a complaint