Need information about buying land in New Zealand? We have translated this information into a number of languages, which you can find below.

Are you an overseas person who wants to buy land in New Zealand?

If you are not a New Zealand citizen, there is an important law you may need to follow if you want to buy or lease land in New Zealand. This law requires you to get consent from the Overseas Investment Office before you buy certain land, whether you buy the land directly, or indirectly (such as through a company).

If you want to buy or lease land in New Zealand and the overseas investment law could apply to you – get help from a New Zealand lawyer who specialises in overseas investment law before you enter into any agreement for the land. 

Could the overseas investment law apply to you?

The following people and organisations do not usually need to get consent to buy land in New Zealand:

  • New Zealand citizens
  • People who hold a New Zealand resident visa and:
    • are living in New Zealand, and
    • intend to live in New Zealand indefinitely, and
    • have done so for the past 12 months.
  • Companies, trusts and partnerships that have less than 25% ownership or control by overseas persons.

Any other person or organisation must get consent to buy or lease certain types of land:

  • Rural land larger than 5 hectares
  • Land on some islands, eg. land on Waiheke Island
  • Most land that is next to the sea
  • Land that is larger than 0.4 hectares that has or is next to:
    • a lake
    • a regional or public park, and/or
    • a place with historical or sacred significance.

This is not a complete list and whether you need consent will depend on the facts about the property you are looking to buy.

You will also need to get consent if you use someone you know, such as a relative or friend, to buy the land for you – even if they are a New Zealand citizen or have a New Zealand resident visa. 

What do you need to do if the overseas investment law applies to you?

You will need help from a New Zealand lawyer who specialises in New Zealand’s overseas investment law to find out if you need consent to buy or lease the land you are looking at. 

You should get advice from a specialist in this area before you enter into an agreement to buy or lease land in New Zealand.

The specialist lawyer will also be able to explain the information you will need to provide in your application, including information about:

  • Yourself
  • The land you want to buy
  • What you plan to do with the land, and
  • The fee you will need to pay to apply.

What will happen if you buy land without consent?

There are strong penalties if you don’t comply with the law for buying certain land – this could include large fines or imprisonment and you could be required to sell any property you have purchased without consent. 

Important note

This page provides general information only. If you need legal or other expert advice about the land you want to buy or lease, you should get help from a specialist adviser. 

Last Updated: 21 June 2017