New Zealand Law Society - Applications to Overseas Investment Office up in 2019

Applications to Overseas Investment Office up in 2019

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The Overseas Investment Office says it made decision on 145 applications from overseas people wanting to invest in New Zealand's sensitive land and assets in 2019. This was up from 97 applications in 2018.

The OIO has released its overseas investment data for 2019. This also shows an increased number of enforcement actions against overseas investors who did not follow the rules.

The office took 45 enforcement actions in 2019, which was up from 39 actions in 2018. The majority of these were a compliance letter or formal warning (29 actions), followed by "disposal" (6), civil proceedings/settlement (5) and late filing penalty (5).

The OIO says it oversaw over $17.5 billion of overseas investment in New Zealand in 2019. This was up 40% on 2018, when the gross investment was $12.5 billion.

It says most applications to acquire sensitive land were approved in the last 12 months, however six applications for sensitive rural land were declined. These applications were declined because the investment wasn’t going to create a substantial and identifiable benefit. In 2017 the Government raised the threshold for acquiring rural land.

The top three countries by net investment in 2019 were Canada, Singapore and China.

About 15% to 18% of overseas investment in New Zealand comes through the OIO. The OIO also approved 278 applications from overseas people to buy homes in New Zealand.

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