You may need to apply to the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) for consent if you are an overseas person, or an associate of an overseas person, and you wish to acquire:
- sensitive land or an interest in sensitive land (e.g. by buying shares in a company that owns sensitive land), or
- business assets worth more than $100 million, or
- fishing quota or an interest in fishing quota.
Persons requiring consent
You are an overseas person if you are neither a New Zealand citizen, nor ordinarily resident in New Zealand. A company, a partnership, a joint venture or a trust can also be an overseas person. You will also require consent if you are an associate of an overseas person. You will require expert legal advice to know whether you or the entity that is going to acquire the sensitive assets is an overseas person or an associate of an overseas person.
Sensitive land requiring consent
Land will be sensitive if it comes within the types of land and area thresholds detailed in Part 1 of Schedule 1 of theOverseas Investment Act 2005. While determining whether land is sensitive can sometimes be straightforward, often significant legal and land expertise is required, particularly if there are nearby waterways.
Applicants for consent must satisfy a number of criteria, including the core “investor test” criteria. In addition, consent to acquire sensitive land will only be granted if:
- the transaction will, or is likely to, benefit New Zealand, or alternatively
- the relevant overseas person intends to reside in New Zealand indefinitely.
Some types of land (such as farm land) also have specific consent criteria.
Applicants for consent to acquire fishing quota must satisfy a “national interest” test.
Determining if consent is required and applying for consent generally requires significant legal and land expertise. Seek assistance from a professional adviser as early as possible to help ensure a smooth transaction.
For help finding and engaging a lawyer in New Zealand, please contact the New Zealand Law Society.
You can find this and other information on investing in New Zealand at this link: