Overseas Investment Office Advised of High Court Decision

11 June 2010

Today the Auckland High Court dismissed the application by UBNZ Assets Holdings Limited and Natural Dairy (NZ) Holdings Limited for a declaration that they do not require consent under the Overseas Investment Act 2005.

This follows sale and purchase agreements for 16 Crafar farms signed in late May, which are conditional on consent under the Act.

Annelies McClure, Manager of the Overseas Investment Office, said the Court’s reasons for dismissing the application for the declaration supports the OIO’s view that consent may be required by UBNZ Assets Holdings Limited to purchase the farms.

“The Overseas Investment Act clearly sets out the requirements for overseas persons and associates of overseas persons seeking to purchase sensitive New Zealand land,” said Ms McClure. “The Court’s judgment further reinforces our interpretation of the provisions in the Act.”

Questions and answers

Why was the OIO part of the court proceedings?

The OIO wished to be heard because UBNZ Assets Holdings Limited maintained it did not require consent for the purchase of the Crafar farms. At the Court hearing on 4 June 2010, the OIO was joined as a second defendant to the proceedings.

What did the OIO provide to the court?

The OIO provided evidence and submissions at the hearing regarding the requirement for consent.

Will the OIO continue its investigation into the purchase of the four farms already purchased by UBNZ Assets Holdings Limited in February 2010?

Yes. The OIO will continue its investigation until it is satisfied that all the requested information has been supplied, and it is able to determine whether or not a breach of the Overseas Investment Act 2005 has been committed.

Will these court proceedings affect any future application from UBNZ Assets Holdings Limited or Natural Dairy (NZ) Holdings Limited?

No. The OIO assesses each application on its merits in accordance with the requirements of the Overseas Investment Act 2005.