Applicants seeking consent to acquire non-residential sensitive land under the benefit test must show that the investment is likely to benefit New Zealand.

The guidance below will help you to make benefit claims and counterfactual submissions in support of your application for consent. You should use our investment plan template to help structure your investment story, benefit claims and counterfactual submissions.

View our investment plan template

Benefit Test

Unless you are making a residency based application, consent to acquire sensitive land under section 16(c)(i) can only be granted if the investment will or is likely to benefit New Zealand.

If the sensitive land includes non-urban land over 5 hectares then you must also demonstrate that the benefit will be, or is likely to be, substantial and identifiable (together known as the Benefit Test).

The Benefit Test involves assessing the investment against 21 factors, set out in section 17 of the Act and regulation 28 of the Overseas Investment Regulations 2005.

If the Benefit Test is relevant to your application you should review:

  1. Our Investment Plan template;
  2. Counterfactual guidance;
  3. Technical guidance on benefit factors; and
  4. How to make a benefit claim.

Once you have familiarised yourself with the above material, you will need to:

  1. Research and identify the counterfactual for your investment;
  2. Identify the point of difference between your investment and the counterfactual;
  3. Confirm what you are willing to commit to in terms of benefits;
  4. Complete the Investment Plan.

We are available to meet with you before you submit your application.

See Pre-application meetings

See our Residency based application

Assessment of the Benefit Test

The Ministers or the OIO determine the relevance and relative importance to be given to each factor. Relevance is determined by matters including the nature of the investment and the land that is being acquired. The Directive Letter also provides guidance as to the factors that are considered to be of higher relative importance when assessing applications to acquire rural land or forest land.

You can read further information on the Forest Land directive and the Rural Land directive.

Benefits will be weighted using various considerations such as the size of the benefit that is likely to occur. For example, the creation of 100 jobs in New Zealand is likely to be given a greater weight than the creation of one job. Other factors that may affect the weighting of benefits include whether the benefit is enduring or temporary, whether the benefit will occur in the short term or long term and the relative importance of the factor under which the benefit is expected to rise. 

Each application is assessed on its own facts in the context of the proposed overseas investment. When assessing the Benefit Test, the relevant Ministers or the OIO will take into account the benefit to New Zealand that will, or is likely, to occur as a result of the investment having regard to the relevant factors and the interest in land that is being acquired.

You can read further information on how we assess the proportional nature of the benefit assessment when considering applications.

Technical guidance on benefit factors

Click on the links below for technical guidance on each factor.

Economic Factors

Environmental Factors

Other factors


This website provides general information only. The OIO and LINZ do not assume any responsibility for giving legal or other professional advice and disclaim any liability arising from the use of the information. If you require legal or other expert advice you should seek assistance from a professional adviser.

Last Updated: 8 April 2019