Prime Minister John Key says government ministers are likely to have some discretion as to whether the Haier bid for Fisher & Paykel Appliances will be able to go ahead.
Chinese whiteware maker Haier has made a formal takeover bid for the New Zealand company, which needed government assistance in 2009.
Haier, which has a 20% stake in the company, is offering $1.20 a share, valuing Fisher & Paykel Appliances at $870 million.
The Labour Party says any overseas deal worth more than $100 million should be approved by ministers, not officials.
Mr Key says once the Overseas Investment Office has made its decision, it would likely go to the relevant ministers for the final sign-off.