New foreign investment directive finds good balance

Federated Farmers supports the Government’s plan to ensure the net benefit test is robustly applied to prospective overseas buyers of rural land.

“If we’re going to have rules that the sale of productive land to overseas buyers should bring employment, public access, additional development or other benefits over and above those a domestic buyer would bring, they should be robustly applied. Follow-up checks need to be made that undertakings given actually happen,” Federated Farmers Vice-President Andrew Hoggard said.

The Federation is pleased the Government has announced it intends to boost the Overseas Investment Office’s resources to enable them to effectively perform these roles. It’s also a plus that the new directive is broader and simpler in its application, taking in all rural land larger than five hectares (other than that used for forestry).

“But equally we’re pleased the Government is not closing the door on overseas investment in our primary sector. History has shown that foreign expertise and money can make a positive contribution to New Zealand, especially as a number of overseas owners become New Zealand citizens and, along with their families, make an ongoing positive contribution to NZ society,” Andrew said.

“As a nation highly dependent on overseas trade we also need to ensure that our domestic policies do not undermine our international efforts to continue to break down artificial barriers to trade in overseas markets.

“Farmers and others will watch with interest to ensure the new directive is applied fairly, and not unnecessarily restrictively.”

Source: Federated Farmers

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