Overseas investment increases because of slack law
Wed Sep 29 1999
Foreigners own $126 billion worth of New Zealand because we have some of the slackest overseas investment rules in the developed world, Alliance leader Jim Anderton says.
The rest of the world owns $86 billion more of New Zealand than we own of the rest of the world, according to International Investment Position figures released today by Statistics New Zealand.
Although the $86 billion shortfall is smaller than it was a year ago, the decline is mainly due to a fall in the value of some large overseas investment in New Zealand.
'It's not so much a case of overseas owners buying up less of New Zealand as a case of their purchases falling in value because our economy has been performing so badly,' Jim Anderton said.
The Alliance has compared the most recent OECD records of overseas investment rules applying in developed countries. The comparison shows that at January this year New Zealand had restrictions on overseas investment in fewer sectors than any other developed country.'
The reason that the rest of the world owns so much more of New Zealand than we own of them is that New Zealand is the wild west of foreign investment. In virtually any industry, overseas owners can virtually waltz in and buy up whatever they like. Most developed countries have restrictions applying to a range of sectors.
'Even a deregulated country like the US has restrictions applying to fifteen different sectors, including banking, broadcasting, insurance and telecommunications. All of those industries are open slather in New Zealand.
'New Zealand is almost unique in allowing open slather foreign ownership of banking, airlines, insurance and transport.
'This is an issue of New Zealand's sovereignty. The more foreign ownership of New Zealand that exists, the less control we have over our own economic and social destiny,' Jim Anderton said.
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