16 September 2020
Microsoft Corporation’s New Zealand subsidiaries have been granted consent by the Overseas Investment Office to acquire significant business assets, which include various land interests to be used for cloud-based data centres in New Zealand.
Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational technology company with headquarters in Washington. Microsoft has had a presence in New Zealand since 1991.
Data centres are centralised locations for cloud computing and networking equipment so that large amounts of data can be stored and processed. Microsoft provides hyperscale cloud services which are a key ingredient for every country’s government and industry.
The application met the investor test in section 18 of the Overseas Investment Act. It also involved a national interest assessment and consideration by the Minister of Finance as introduced as part of changes to the Overseas Investment Act in June 2020.
The investor test required that Microsoft has the business experience and acumen relevant to the investment, that it has demonstrated financial commitment to the investment, and that the individuals with control of the investment are of good character and are not prohibited from entering New Zealand under the Immigration Act.
Microsoft will acquire interests in various sites; however none is sensitive land under the Overseas Investment Act.
This investment aligns with the Government Chief Data Steward’s Data Strategy and Roadmap from 2018, which equates New Zealanders’ data as a tāonga requiring guardianship.
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