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OIO reviewing good character process

04 May 2016

The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) says it will review its process around good character, following the sale of Onetai Station in Taranaki to a foreign company.

The OIO says it has reviewed the file on the 2013 consent application by the company, Ceol & Muir, and it has identified information that was not passed on to government ministers at the time the application to purchase the property was approved.

At the time of the sale of the 1317 hectare station to the Italian and Argentinian company, the OIO said the sale satisfied Overseas Investment Act 2005 criteria for substantial and identifiable benefit to New Zealand in terms of jobs, investment for development, indigenous vegetation and fauna, and walking access.

It has now been revealed that the company is controlled by brothers Rafael and Federico Grozovsky, who were previously prosecuted for discharging toxic chemicals into a river in Buenos Aires.

The review follows a statement released by the OIO on 28 April 2016 that it was satisfied that due process was followed in assessing a consent application by Ceol & Muir.

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) chief executive Peter Mersi now says relevant information was not passed on to government ministers.

"I have advised Land Information Minister Louise Upston of this situation and apologised," he says.

"I have also given her an assurance there will be no repeat of this situation in future. The OIO has a robust process for dealing with applications but on this occasion, it does not appear to have been followed. This was a regrettable lapse."

Last updated on the 16th September 2019