9 Dec 2010

Planned new foreign investment rules detailed

5:10 pm on 9 December 2010

The Government has spelled out details on its planned new foreign investment rules that will make it harder for overseas interests to buy New Zealand farmland.

The announcement gives more detail on proposals unveiled in September this year and describes the size of land purchases which would have to come under much tighter scrutiny.

Affected landholdings would have to be 10 times the size of an average dairy or sheep farm, either in one or several farms, or in one or several separate purchases.

An average dairy farm is 172 hectares and a sheep farm 443 hectares.

The Overseas Investment Office would have to give special weighting to the ability of a new enterprise to offer New Zealand oversight, such as appointment of local directors to a company.

The office would also have to give special weighting to a criteria looking at whether New Zealand's economic interests are adequately safeguarded and promoted.

Federated Farmers say new rules regarding foreign investment offer much needed clarity and certainty.

President Don Nicholson believes the changes will not scare off foreign investors and are a welcome line in the sand.