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Overseas Investment Reform Protects Strategically Important Assets

19 May 2021

New Zealand’s most strategically important assets will be protected from sales to overseas buyers that would be contrary to our national interests under a law that passed its third reading in Parliament today.

Associate Finance Minister David Parker said the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill (No 3) was a significant milestone and the final step in the Government’s wide scale reforms to our overseas investment rules.

“As well as protecting our strategic assets it also ensures we are not imposing unnecessary hurdles on low risk investments that will support our economic recovery,” David Parker said.

“The Overseas Investment Amendment Bill (No 3) sets us up for the future by making us a much more attractive destination for the productive, sustainable, and inclusive foreign investment that improves wellbeing.”

“It builds on the Urgent Measures Act, passed in May last year, by striking the right balance between facilitating investment and managing risks where they arise. Feedback from the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee has ensured backstop tools - like the national interest test - are better targeted at transactions likely to pose risks such as major infrastructure and media companies.”

It sets a high threshold for the acquisition of farmland, to reflect its economic and cultural importance. Putting this into law prevents the flip-flopping that occurred when the criteria were set by ministers.

The Bill introduces other improvements to cut unnecessary red tape, such as removing consent requirements for small, low-risk changes in shareholdings. This will enable investors to complete some transactions more quickly, with lower compliance costs.

“This Bill, alongside the other changes to our economic settings, such as the ban on foreign buyers of homes, will set us up to make the most of the economic challenges ahead,” David Parker said.

More information can be found here: https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_97807/tab/reports.

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