23 Aug 2009

English urges more business investment in Australia

5:32 am on 23 August 2009

The Government is urging New Zealand businesses to take advantage of new rules which will allow them to increase their investments in Australia.

Under the change, which is to be finalised later this year, New Zealand companies will be able to invest up to $A953 million before having to seek approval.

The change also lifts the threshold to $NZ477 million before Australians investing in New Zealand have to ask for permission.

Finance Minister Bill English, who is in Sydney for the Australia-New Zealand leadership forum, says the change indicates both countries have confidence that investment by the other is in their respective national interests.

"I think it will just a continue a process of greater integration between the two economies," Mr English said.

He says the Government will need to talk to the business community about its investment in Australia.

"The discussion I think from here that we need to have with the New Zealand business community is what we can do to lift that level of investment. This is our closest, biggest market and it seems a pretty obvious place for New Zealand to be able to do well with its investments."

Mr English says while Australian investment in New Zealand has risen significantly there has been little change in New Zealand's investment in Australia in the past seven years.

Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has described the agreement as a breakthrough, calling it an important step forward in the relationship between the two neighbours.