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Removal Of All Scrutiny Of Foreign Co. Purchases?

URGENT ACTION NEEDED
GOVERNMENT REVIEW OF OVERSEAS INVESTMENT LAWS

STRONG POSSIBILITY OF REMOVAL OF ALL SCRUTINY OF FOREIGN COMPANY PURCHASES

In November 2003 the Minister of Finance Michael Cullen announced a "first principles" review of the Overseas Investment Act. The purpose of this review is twofold.

a.. "First, to ensure that the overseas investment regime focuses on those assets of critical interest, such as certain sensitive land areas, natural resources (eg fish) and assets with historical or cultural significance (eg heritage buildings).

b.. Second, to maintain a liberal foreign investment regime and to reduce compliance costs where this is feasible, while ensuring the government’s objectives are achieved."

Treasury is leading the review with input from the Reserve Bank, Overseas Investment Commission (OIC), Ministry of Economic Development, Department of Conservation, Land Information NZ, Te Puni Kokiri, Department of Immigration and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

Many of these agencies are strongly in favour of foreign investment. Cullen himself has openly questioned the need for foreign company purchases to be scrutinised at all, so long as they do not involve purchase of sensitive land.

Cullen could introduce legislation to remove such oversight in June 2004, coming into force soon after. With such a tight timeframe there will only be short time for public submissions. The public need to make their voice heard now.

What You Can Do About this Review

a.. Call for a public inquiry, rather than one led by agencies such as Treasury, MFAT and the OIC which will favour the dismantling of controls.

b.. Write to your MP and register your opposition to the weakening of the current overseas investment law and regulations.

c.. Write to your local paper. Call talkback.

d.. Argue for strengthening the controls over foreign investment, the conditions that are placed on it, and the monitoring that should follow.

e.. Advocate strongly for tighter control on overseas ownership of land and fisheries.

f.. Become informed. Join CAFCA and gain access to a wealth of information and analysis that you will not find in your local newspaper.

a.. The Government plans to have legislation ready by June 2004, so it is important to act now.

CAFCA LEAFLET AVAILABLE

CAFCA has produced a leaflet on the subject, giving considerably more detail. It is entitled "Foreign Investment In New Zealand: We Must Have The Right To Pick And Choose". A copy has been posted to every CAFCA member with the latest Foreign Control Watchdog.

We want it spread far and wide, by our members and supporters. If you would like hard copies of it, please reply to this e-mail, giving your name and postal address and saying how many copies you would like. Photocopying and postage costs money, so a koha towards costs wouldn't go amiss either. Make cheques to CAFCA, at the below postal address.

The leaflet can also be downloaded from CAFCA's Website. It is a PDF. You can access it at

http://canterbury.cyberplace.co.nz/community/CAFCA/OIAReview1.pdf

There is also a background article on the subject. You can access that at:

http://www.converge.org.nz/watchdog/04/01.htm

If these Links don't work, for any reason, then go to www.cafca.org.nz , and click on the Foreign Investment In New Zealand page. You'll find them both in there.

Read the leaflet, read the article, and you'll see the threat contained in the review. We need your help to arouse public awareness and action on this. This leaflet is only the first step in our campaign on this review.

Let's all get stuck in!

Murray Horton

Secretary/Organiser

CAFCA Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa Box 2258, Christchurch, New Zealand cafca@chch.planet.org.nz www.cafca.org.nz

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