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Overseas Investors Must Continue To Notify OIO

The Overseas Investment Office is reminding overseas investors and their advisors to continue to notify all relevant overseas investments in New Zealand. This follows the Government retaining the temporary emergency notification process in the Overseas Investment Act 2005 for another 90 days.

Since 16 June 2020, overseas investors have needed to notify the Overseas Investment Office of all overseas investments resulting in:

  • more than 25% overseas ownership of a New Zealand business or its assets; or
  • an increase to an existing holding up to or beyond 50% or 75% or up to 100%.

These transactions are then assessed within 10 working days to make sure they are not contrary to New Zealand’s national interests. All notifications need to be submitted online.

By the end of August, the Overseas Investment Office had received 102 notifications, with three being called in by the Associate Minister of Finance for further assessment. Of these three, two have been reviewed by the Minister of Finance and allowed to proceed - one is currently being assessed.

“The Overseas Investment Office has received notifications from a wide spectrum of industries, from a fish and chip restaurant, to large technology companies,” says Vanessa Horne, Group Manager of the Overseas Investment Office. “45% of notifications are from either financial and insurance services, or professional, scientific and technical services. We are also seeing notifications from rental, hiring and real estate services.”

The Overseas Investment Office is also looking into non-compliant transactions potentially entered into after 16 June 2020. “Those suspected of breaching regulations will be referred to the Overseas Investment Office’s enforcement team,” says Vanessa Horne. “However, we urge any overseas investors to get in touch if they think they have failed to notify the Overseas Investment Office of a relevant transaction.”

The notification requirement will only remain in place while the effects of COVID-19 justify it continuing. There is no cost to applicants for the emergency notification requirement.

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