The Overseas Investment Act is currently being reviewed and the Government wants to hear from the public.
Let your Government know how you think overseas investment should work in New Zealand, including how our precious natural resources like land and water can be protected.
Make a submission today by using the form on this page.
Submissions close on May 24th 2019.
What changes is the Green Party asking for in the review of the Overseas Investment Act?
We want to rebalance the Act so that:
- Environmental considerations and potential negative impacts are put at the forefront of decision making.
- Māori cultural values are at the centre of decision making. In particular, Māori have rangatira and kaitiaki rights over water, guaranteed in Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
- The emphasis is that buying sensitive land is clearly a privilege, not a right.
- Overseas investment delivers genuine benefits for Aotearoa/New Zealand.
- Issues around sensitive land purchases where these provide access to important natural resources like water for extraction are very carefully assessed.
- Continue to require approval for land purchases that are next to sensitive land such as conservation land, seabed, rivers, and lakes.
- It requires that farmland continues to be advertised on the open market before it is able to be purchased by an overseas person or business.
- We review and strengthen the controls around the purchase of rural land for forestry so that this does not become a loophole for overseas interests to purchase and control large areas of land, and to ensure this achieves the policy intent of encouraging more land to be used for forestry than would result from domestic investment.
What is the Overseas Investment Act?
The Overseas Investment Act sets the rules for people or businesses who don’t reside in New Zealand but want to invest in New Zealand; including buying land and houses. Currently, it covers sensitive land (including residential property, and non-urban land over 5 hectares), significant business assets (generally worth more than $100million) and fishing quotas.
Currently, people overseas need permission if they want to buy or invest in these sensitive assets. The Overseas Investment Office reviews applications and two Ministers can end up making the final decision.
At the moment, for overseas companies or individuals wanting to buy sensitive land Ministers and OIO have to consider whether such purchases provide “substantial and identifiable benefits” for New Zealand. This focuses on benefits like jobs and exports, with a limited ability to consider the wider national interest and the environmental impact of investments in those decisions.
What’s being reviewed?
The Greens made sure that effects on strategic resources like water would be included in this review of the Overseas Investment Act alongside the wider need to strengthen environmental considerations in decision making to protect our invaluable assets like water and make sure that we uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi by putting Māori values at the heart of decision making.
The review looks into what type of assets should be screened, who should be screened, and how the screening process works.
A key part of the review is on the benefit to New Zealand test of potential investments. This presents an opportunity to broaden what decision makers can consider.
How do I find out more about the review?
You can find more information about the review on Treasury’s website here.