Find out about investing in forestry rights or buying or leasing land to be used for forestry.

What is investing in forestry?

Investing in forestry can take the form of buying or leasing land to plant a forest on, buying or leasing an existing forestry operation, or acquiring sensitive land for both forestry and another purpose, such as farming. Investing in forestry rights means buying the rights to establish, maintain and harvest trees on someone else’s land.

Do I need consent?

You must apply for consent if you are an overseas person and you want to:

  • buy or lease land that is currently planted for forestry, or land to be used for forestry, or
  • buy more than 1000 hectares of forestry rights in a calendar year.

Overseas person definition

Who can invest without consent?

You do not need to apply for consent to buy forestry rights if:

  • you are buying less than 1000 hectares of forestry rights per calendar year, or
  • you are an Australian citizen or an Australian entity (in certain circumstances).

Note: Even if you do not need consent, you may still need to notify us of the investment.

Find out if you need to notify us of a transaction

Help and advice

To confirm which requirements apply to you, or talk through your options, please contact us.

Contact the Overseas Investment Office

Types of forestry consents

There are 3 different consent options, depending on what you intend to do with the land:

Special forestry test

This is the most streamlined test of the three. It is for investors who are:

  • purchasing land to plant a forest on, or
  • buying existing forestry land.
Assessment criteria

Under this test, you are required to:

  • use the land exclusively, or nearly exclusively, for forestry activities
  • replant after harvesting, unless you are exempt
  • only use the land for accommodation to support forestry activities.

You will also need to implement and maintain certain arrangements for the land, including:

  • public access
  • protection of habitat for indigenous plants and animals
  • protection of historic places
  • log supply arrangements.

You do not need to include a comparison between the benefits your investment will bring and those provided by the vendor or a New Zealand investor.

Fee

The fee for this consent application is $34,100.

Standard benefits test

This is the most complex test of the 3. It is the only option if you intend to buy sensitive land for both forestry as well as another purpose, such as farming, or if you do not intend to replant after harvest.

Assessment criteria

Investments of this type are assessed against the benefit to New Zealand test, under which the investment must be likely to result in substantial and identifiable benefit to New Zealand, measured against 21 benefit factors.

Benefit to New Zealand test

Fee

The fee for this consent application is usually between $40,500 and $49,000 depending on the value of the land and whether the decision to grant consent lies with Ministers.

Modified benefits test

Use this test if you plan to use the land only for forestry activities but cannot put in place or keep existing arrangements relating to the land (for example, agreements for public access).

Assessment criteria

The investment must be likely to result in substantial and identifiable benefit to New Zealand, measured against 21 benefit factors.

Benefit to New Zealand test

You are also required to:

  • replant after harvest unless you are exempt
  • use the land exclusively or nearly exclusively for forestry activities
  • only use the land for accommodation to support forestry activities.
Fee

The fee for this consent is usually between $44,600 and $51,100, depending on the value of the land.

Standing consents

Investors in forestry or forestry rights may choose to apply for a standing consent. This allows them to apply for consent before identifying the property or land they want to buy.

A standing consent covers a predetermined number of transactions and may have an expiry date.

Assessment criteria

Standing consents are for quality investors with a proven track record. To be granted a standing consent, investors will need:

  • to have detailed business plans well advanced
  • to meet specific conditions
  • to justify the need for a standing consent over one-off consents
  • to notify the Overseas Investment Office each time they use the standing consent to enter a transaction.
Fee

The fee for a standing consent is $34,100, plus $13,000 for each transaction that is approved. The individual transaction fees are due when you notify us of each transaction.

Apply

The Apply section contains information and resources to help you apply for consent online. We recommend you seek expert legal advice as early as possible and book a pre-application meeting to discuss the requirements before making an application.

Apply

Seek expert advice

Pre-application meetings

Legislation

The Overseas Investment Act 2005 outlines the criteria for consent for overseas investments in forestry:

Conditions for forestry consents - Part 2, Section 16 (c)

Exemptions involving forestry rights -  Schedule 3

Standing consents - Schedule 4

Last Updated: 5 July 2021