10 Sep 2018

Forestry deal shows NZ 'open' for investment

1:37 pm on 10 September 2018

Overseas forestry companies are expected to show more interest in New Zealand's forestry sector after a successful deal involving an Australian company.

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Photo: RNZ/Susan Murray

South Australian-based sustainable forestry company OneFortyOne Plantation has just completed the purchase of the 60,000ha Nelson Forests, after approval by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO).

The new owners have pledged to continue operating the sawmill business in the Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough regions preserving jobs for staff and contractors.

Law firm MinterEllisonRuddWatts managed the deal and team leader Mark Forman said the government's exemption for foreign investment in forestry lands had been the right decision when it tightened foreign ownership and investment rules earlier this year.

"I think the government is being pretty sensible in relation to forestry, compared to where they were a couple of years ago and compared to what they are doing on other things - on agricultural for example," he said.

"They've recognised the benefit of overseas investors in forestry and this is quite an important decision by the OIO . . . that New Zealand is open for business for forestry transactions."

Mr Forman said the law firm was working with a number of other foreign investors interested in forestry assets.