Enforcement action taken

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.

Learn about how the overseas investment rules might apply to you

Read more about our enforcement criteria

Read the full information about the enforcement powers and tools available to us

Court orders

Current proceedings

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.

 

Decided cases

Penalties or disposal orders have been made in the following cases:

Name / entity

Date

Details

Wenbing Tang
Xianghua Huang, Binghan Zhou
Binzhi Ouyang

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.
Wenbing Tang was penalised $110,000
The other three defendants received a penalty based on the gain they otherwise stood to make from disposing of the property.
Read the Judgment
Read the news item

Carbon Conscious New Zealand Limited

Filed – 2015
Judgment – 4 April 2016

Carbon Conscious was ordered by the High Court to pay a civil penalty after using an associate to purchase sensitive land on its behalf.
Read the judgment
Read the news item

 

Disposal of property

Name / entity

Date of disposal

Details

Tui Estate Limited

Forthcoming

Property is currently for sale.
Overseas investors acquired approximately 67.9481 hectares of land in Rakaia Gorge, Canterbury. Consent conditions required the consent holder to develop homes on the land. The consent holder has not done this, and the land is therefore to be sold.

Waiheke Island Airpark Resort Limited

Settlement due late 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.
As the property had not been developed, the consent holder has disposed of the property. (Settlement is to occur in 2018.)

Canres Limited

Forthcoming

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.
As the conditions have not been met, the property is currently for sale.

MTS Energy Limited

27 July 2018

Overseas investors acquired approximately 0.5 hectares of land in Northcote, Auckland without OIO consent.
OIO consent was required because the land is sensitive land (greater than 0.4 hectares and adjoins a recreation reserve).
The OIO entered into a settlement agreement with the overseas investors on 9 November 2017 for the land to be sold.
The property has been disposed of.

Sino-NZ Tourism Development Limited

July 2018

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

2017

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.
Conditions of consent require the 'individuals with control' of the Terrior Winery Fund to remain of good character. In light of Mr Banks' conviction and sentence, we consider that Mr Banks is not of good character.
Mr Banks has resigned as director of Trinity Hill Limited and is being removed from having any interest in Terrior's New Zealand investments.

Whisper Creek Golf Resort Limited (previously Christchurch Golf Resort Limited)

Aug-17
Oct-17

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

Oct-16
Feb-17

Conditions of consent required Silver Fern to develop an accommodation business on the property and to dispose of the property if it did not.
The consent holder did not meet the conditions of consent and was required to sell the property.

Nirvana Capital Limited

Apr-16

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.
Due to failure to meet the conditions of consent, the consent holder sold the property.

Mikhail Khimich

Dec-15

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.

Settlement

Name / entity

Date

Details

Forest Growth Holdings Ltd (FGHL)July 2018

The settlement related to FGHL’s role in the transaction described in the New Forest entry below. 
Read a copy of the settlement agreement
Read the warning issued to FGHL in the Warnings section below

New Forests Asset Management Pty Limited (New Forests) and

Wairarapa Estate Limited (WEL)
October 2016

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.
The transactions involved forestry land in the Wairarapa and took place in accordance with a term sheet the parties had agreed to.
The arrangement meant that New Forests could buy the amalgamated land from FGHL at an expected price and seek consent later once it had the certainty of being able to buy from FGHL and for fewer transactions than it would otherwise have needed to apply for.
The parties entered into the arrangement on the basis of legal advice and in the belief they were complying with the overseas investment rules.
Read a copy of the settlement agreement
Read a copy of the warning issued to the parties in the Warning section below

Udo Lammerting
Dr Kristin Lammerting
LIG Lammerting Investment Group (NZ) Limited]

April 2018

Settlement related to the acquisition of several properties in the Northland region which were investigated by the OIO.
Details of the settlement agreement will be released once key steps under the agreement have been undertaken.

Andrew Turney
Paul Turney
Wendy Turney
Schooner Agribusiness LLC

May 2015

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.
The overseas investors in the two syndicates paid $150,400 to charity and OIO’s costs.
Read the news item

Administrative penalties

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.

Read the OIO guidance on 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.

Names of repeat non-compliers may be published.

Warnings

The following warnings have been issued by the Overseas Investment Office since 2015:

Name

Date

Details

Min Jia13 September 2018Warning for acquiring an interest in shares in companies which own sensitive land without consent in 2014 and 2015.
Read the warning
New Forests Asset Management Pty Limited (New Forests), Wairarapa Estate Limited (WEL) and Forest Growth Holdings Ltd (FGHL)13 July 2018Warning 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) 

Itoham Yonekyu Holdings Inc

28 July 2017

A warning for obtaining an interest in sensitive assets, on 1 April 2016, without consent.
Read the warning

Southern Paprika Limited

15 December 2016

Warning for acquiring sensitive land without consent in 2005
Read the warning

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.)
Read the warning (HEAL)
Read the warning (SPL)

Rafael and Federico Grozovsky
Ceol and Muir Inc

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.
Read the warning (Rafael and Federico Grozovsky)
Read the warning (Ceol and Muir Inc)

I-Lun Chien

12 December 2015

Warning in relation to a false statement made to the OIO.
Read the warning

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.
Read the warning

Russell Mawhinney

8 September 2017

Warning in relation to incorrect legal advice given to overseas persons.
Read the warning
Read the OIO's report

Referral complaint to professional society

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

Details

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.
On the basis of that, Carbon Conscious New Zealand Limited breached the Overseas Investment Act 2005 which resulted in it paying a penalty.

Compliance Action

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.

Compliance Letters

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:

Year

Compliance letters issued

2016

3

2017

19

2018 (as at 13 November 2018)

15

 

Last Updated: 14 November 2018