Our enforcement activity recognises and supports the OIO’s purpose by keeping a watch on whether investors have followed the Overseas Investment Rules.
Overseas investors must get consent when the Overseas Investment Rules require them to and must keep the commitments they make when they apply for consent.
New Zealand encourages quality investment by quality investors. Our enforcement function is about making sure investors:
- get consent when the Overseas Investment Rules require them to
- give us truthful and complete information about themselves and their plans
- keep the commitments they make when they apply for consent.
This allows high quality overseas investment to strengthen New Zealand’s economy, while ensuring overseas investors care for New Zealand’s unique natural resources. This ensures New Zealand assets are protected for future generations.
The Overseas Investment Act recognises that it is a privilege for overseas investors to own sensitive New Zealand assets. Our job is to make sure those investments are made in accordance with the Rules.
The enforcement team keeps a watch on whether investors have followed the Rules.
This may be through our own monitoring and surveillance activities, through information provided to us by informants, or through our work with other regulatory and Government agencies.
All consent holders must also:
- provide us with information about their investment promptly
- provide us with honest and reliable updates on their progress on meeting their commitments
- co-operate with us so we can assess progress, including co-operating with site inspections.
We will consider taking enforcement action when we find people have:
- not got consent when the Rules required them to
- not met their commitments in a material way - for example because they gave us untrue or incomplete information about their investment or their plans, or have not complied with the conditions imposed on their consent
- not provided us with information we require
- misled or deceived us.
Taking enforcement action ensures fair treatment for those who comply with the Rules, as well as ensuring that those who do break the Rules are held to account and that others are deterred from doing so. It also gives the New Zealand public confidence we are doing our job.
All breaches of the Rules are important to us, but we have identified 8 strategic priorities that currently guide our enforcement work. These priority areas are important as they impact on public confidence in the overseas investment process.
We are likely to prioritise matters for investigation and enforcement action where we think:
- the overseas investor has acquired a sensitive New Zealand asset without consent
- the investor has deliberately or recklessly broken the Rules, or has tried to disguise their behaviour
- the investor has provided us with information that turns out not to be accurate or complete in a material way
- the investor’s conduct creates public harm - this might include poor employment or health and safety practices or environmental damage
- an investor has made, or will make, a significant gain from an asset acquired in breach
- an investment made without consent would not have been approved if the investor had applied
- the breach involves an asset of particular significance to New Zealand and New Zealanders – for example, because it has high cultural, historic, social or environmental value or it represents a material part of the productive economy or of a particular industry or sector
- a benefit that was an important factor in the decision to allow the investment has not been delivered.
This list does not describe every aspect of our enforcement work. Rather it outlines the areas where we see the greatest impact on public confidence in the effectiveness of the overseas investment process. We use the list to guide what and how we might carry out our enforcement activity.
We will review and update our strategic priorities from time to time.
For more information about:
- the enforcement criteria we use when considering whether to investigate and what enforcement action to take in particular cases
- how we take action, and the tools and powers we can use, when we believe people have broken the Overseas Investment Rules.
If you think you have made a mistake by failing to comply with the Rules, please let us know, as we may be able to take your co-operation into account when considering how we exercise our powers.
If you think you or someone else has breached the Rules, you can report that to us by using our Report a suspected breach form.