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Govt to address Crown Law concerns on OIC regime

Govt to address Crown Law concerns on OIC regime

Office of Hon Dr Michael Cullen

Hon Dr Michael Cullen Minister of Finance

Media Statement 30 May 2000

Govt to address Crown Law concerns on OIC regime -

"The Government is redrafting the instructions to the Overseas Investment Commission on how it is to treat applications under the Overseas Investment Act and the Fisheries Act 1996," Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today.

"The Commission has been operating under instruction by the previous Government to approve all bids that satisfy the investment rules unless good reason exists to refuse them.

"Crown Law has concerns that the instruction may offend against the presumption of neutrality contained in the legislation.

"The Government shares these concerns. We removed these words on 11 May and are now moving to replace the letter of delegation with one requiring that the OIC approach each application with an open mind and without any presumptions either in favour or against any proposal.

"This is in the nature of a technical adjustment. New Zealand will still have one of the most open foreign investment regimes in the world," Dr Cullen said.

"The only other change the Government is considering in this area is to activate the latent provisions of the Overseas Investment Act 1998.

"This was passed by the National-New Zealand First coalition with the overwhelming support of Parliament but has never been brought into force.

"The effect of the amendment is modest and restricted to foreshore and farmland. It would require that any farmland be offered on the open market before being sold overseas.

"It would impose a stronger national interest test for farmland and would lower the trigger point at which the national interest criteria applied to foreshore sales from 0.4 hectares to 0.2," Dr Cullen said.

ENDS

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