5 Oct 2011

Land sales for forestry approved

6:15 pm on 5 October 2011

The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) approved the sale of another 22,000 hectares of land to foreigners in August, most of it for forest development.

In the biggest deal, a Swiss company, Corisol New Zealand, was cleared to buy more than 18,000 hectares of forestry land in Canterbury from Ngai Tahu Forest Estates.

The land is at Ashley Downs, Hanmer, Mt Thomas, Okuku, Omihi and Oxford.

Ngai Tahu told the OIO it was selling the blocks as part of a change in its investment strategy.

The agency also approved the sale of nearly 900 hectares at Strathblane station in the Gisborne region to another Swiss investor, Middle Mount Ltd.

It wants the land to compensate for grazing land it will lose when it establishes a forest plantation on the neighbouring Avondale station, which it already owns.

A Canadian couple who own a forestry block at Tolaga Bay have been cleared to buy nearly 300 hectares of land at neighbouring Raroa station to plant another block.

Approval was also given to a group of four German investors to buy a 192-hectare dairy farm in Southland at a purchase price of $5.7 million. They already own a large number of farms in the region.

So far this year the OIO has approved the sale of more than 112,000 hectares of land to foreign interests compared with 89,000 for the same period last year.