Find out about the enforcement action taken by the Overseas Investment Office since 2015
Overseas investors must get consent when the Overseas Investment Rules require them to and meet the commitments they made when they applied for consent.
We will usually publish the outcome of any enforcement action we take, unless there is good reason to withhold information. On this page we set out information about enforcement action we have taken since 2015.
We carry out our enforcement function through a range of activities, including monitoring compliance with conditions, investigating possible breaches and taking appropriate enforcement action where we find the Rules have been broken.
- We currently have one proceeding before the High Court where the OIO has sought civil penalties in relation to buying land without consent. As the matter is currently before the Court, it is not appropriate for us to provide further information at this time.
- We have filed penalty proceedings against Agria Singapore and Mr Alan Lai in relation to our investigation into good character concerns arising from the settlements Agria and Mr Lai have entered into with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Our statement about the proceedings can be found here.
Penalties or disposal orders have been made in the following cases:
Name / entity
12 March 2018
The High Court ordered the defendants pay a total of $847,000 in civil penalties and costs for failing to get consent under the Overseas Investment Office before buying a property.
Carbon Conscious New Zealand Limited
Filed – 2015
Name / entity
Date of disposal
Overseas Investors (names withheld pending sale)
Properties in the Twizel area are currently for sale. Overseas investors acquired 326.993 hectares of sensitive land without consent. A settlement agreement has been entered into. Further details will be released when they become available.
|Overseas Investor (name withheld pending sale)|
Property is currently for sale.
Flying Class Limited
20 September 2018
Flying Class Ltd acquired approximately 5.7728 hectares of sensitive land near Matamata (a horse stabling facility). Consent conditions required it to complete certain development works. However, it did not complete all of those works and was required to dispose of the property. Flying Class has now disposed of the property.
Tui Estate Limited
Property is currently for sale.
Waiheke Island Airpark Resort Limited
|5 December 2018|
Conditions of consent required the consent holder to develop Waiheke Island airfield (8.9580 hectares) and to dispose of the airfield if it was not developed.
Conditions of consent required the consent holder to develop a recreational and sport lodge business on the property (40 hectares) and to dispose of the property if it was not developed.
MTS Energy Limited
27 July 2018
Overseas investors acquired approximately 0.5 hectares of land in Northcote, Auckland without OIO consent.
Sino-NZ Tourism Development Limited
Overseas investors acquired over 5 hectares of land near to Flatbush, Auckland without consent. OIO consent was required because the land is sensitive as it is over 5 hectares in a non-urban area. The consent holder has disposed of the property.
Terrior Winery Fund
Mr Charles Banks, the majority shareholder of Terrior Capital LLC, which manages Terrior Winery Fund, has been sentenced to four years imprisonment for fraud in the United States.
Whisper Creek Golf Resort Limited (previously Christchurch Golf Resort Limited)
Conditions of consent required the consent holder to develop a golf resort but it has not done this. The consent holder has disposed of the property.
Silver Fern International Travel & Trade Limited
Conditions of consent required Silver Fern to develop an accommodation business on the property and to dispose of the property if it did not.
Nirvana Capital Limited
Conditions of consent required two of the shareholders of Nirvana Capital Limited to become ordinarily resident in New Zealand and to dispose of the property if they did not.
Conditions of consent required Mr Khimich to develop an organic winery on the property and to dispose of the property if the winery was not developed.
Name / entity
|Forest Growth Holdings Ltd (FGHL)||July 2018|
The settlement related to FGHL’s role in the transaction described in the New Forest entry below.
New Forests Asset Management Pty Limited (New Forests) andWairarapa Estate Limited (WEL)
The settlement relates to an arrangement between New Forests (through WEL, a company managed by New Forests) and Forest Growth Holdings Limited (FGHL), whereby FGHL – a New Zealand company – would purchase small blocks of forestry land to amalgamate and then on-sell to New Forests – an overseas company. In entering into this arrangement, FGHL was effectively acting as New Forests’ associate.
Settlement related to the acquisition of several properties in the Northland region which were investigated by the OIO.
Settlement related to two of six farming established by the late Alan Hubbard that were investigated by the OIO and resulted in the disposal of sensitive land acquired without consent. The other four syndicates had disbanded by this date and the properties had already been sold.
Penalties for retrospective consents
The OIO can grant consent for an investment retrospectively where an investor inadvertently break the rules. The OIO has provided guidance outlining when a retrospective consent may be appropriate and the factors we take into account in setting the administrative penalty for a retrospective consents.
From 1 July 2017 any penalties imposed for retrospective consents is included on the decision summary issued when consent is granted.
Penalties for late provision of information
Prompt and accurate provision of information is key to our ability to detect and take action on breaches of the rules and to effectively monitor whether investors have met conditions imposed on consents.
We impose penalties for the late provision for information or documentation.
In 2017 we issued four penalties for late reporting.
In 2018 we issued six penalties for late reporting.
Names of repeat non-compliers may be published.
The following warnings have been issued by the Overseas Investment Office since 2015:
|Min Jia||13 September 2018||Warning for acquiring an interest in shares in companies which own sensitive land without consent in 2014 and 2015.|
Read the warning (PDF 191KB)
|New Forests Asset Management Pty Limited (New Forests), Wairarapa Estate Limited (WEL) and Forest Growth Holdings Ltd (FGHL)||13 July 2018||Warning around acquiring sensitive land without prior consent by using a New Zealand associate to allow amalgamation of land and delay the need for consent.|
Read the warning (New Forests, WEL and FGHL) (PDF 832KB)
Itoham Yonekyu Holdings Inc
28 July 2017
A warning for obtaining an interest in sensitive assets, on 1 April 2016, without consent.
Southern Paprika Limited
15 December 2016
Warning for acquiring sensitive land without consent in 2005
Harbour Edge Avocados Limited and Southern Paprika Limited
15 December 2016
Warning for acquiring sensitive land without consent in 2015. (The matter was also subject to a retrospective application for consent.)
Rafael and Federico Grozovsky
28 September 2016
Warning that information provided to the OIO must be complete and accurate and no material omissions should exist in relation to good character checks.
12 December 2015
Warning in relation to a false statement made to the OIO.
Contact Energy Limited
8 June 2015
Warning in relation to acquisition of an interest in two relatively small areas of sensitive land without consent in 2011 and 2014. The land was no longer owned by Contact Energy.
8 September 2017
We can refer a person to a professional conduct body in relation to a breach of the Overseas Investment Rules.
Name / entity
Date of referral and to which professional society
In relation to Carbon Conscious New Zealand Limited
December 2017 – New Zealand Law Society
Carbon Conscious New Zealand Limited obtained legal advice on the conduct of its business in New Zealand, including the acquisition of land.
While it will often not be appropriate for us to comment on matters we are investigating, we may release information in relation to compliance action we are in the process of taking.
In December 2018 we issued a cease and desist notification to require misleading advertising about exemptions under the Overseas Investment rules to be removed. The advertising material was removed immediately.
To help encourage better compliance in the future, we issue letters, to individuals or organisations explaining how the Overseas Investment Rules need to be met and how they apply to them. Often these letters will clarify the application of the rules to particular situations or to remind people of particular compliance requirements.
Compliance letters issued:
Compliance letters issued
2018 (as at 13 November 2018)