30 April 2020
In March 2020, the Overseas Investment Office granted consent to five applications under the special forestry test pathway
- Zentral Estate Limited
- CFPC (Singapore) Pte. Limited
- Wolfgang Leitner
- Ellis Campbell (NZ) Limited
- Summit Forests New Zealand Limited
On 22 October 2018, rules for overseas investment in forestry were changed to streamline the consent process and encourage investment.
The special forestry test was introduced as a more straightforward test for conventional forestry investments. This followed consultation on changes to the Overseas Investment Act, the acquisition of certain forestry right interests being brought into the screening regime along with the Government’s One Billion Trees programme and climate change targets. The special forestry test is designed for conventional forestry investments, and it is not available for other forestry investments such as permanent forestry.
Criteria for the special forestry test includes that:
- the land is used exclusively, or nearly exclusively, for forestry activities
- the land be replanted after harvest (in most cases)
- existing arrangements are maintained or implemented, such as public access, protection of habitat for indigenous plants and animals, certain historic heritage or wahi tapu areas, and log supply arrangements.
“Each application received under the pathway is assessed by the Overseas Investment Office on its own merits and against the relevant criteria,” says Vanessa Horne, Group Manager for the Overseas Investment Office. “The Office has continued to facilitate valuable investment in the forestry industry and to protect any relevant existing arrangements over that land.”
There have been 44 special forestry test consents and two forestry standing consents approved since the law change in 2018.
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