New Zealand Law Society - Changes to some business processes for Overseas Investment Office applications

Changes to some business processes for Overseas Investment Office applications

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A number of changes to the Overseas Investment Office are in place to continue with processing Overseas Investment applications, LINZ says.

Statutory Declarations

‘One Home to Live In’ investors must provide a statutory declaration to satisfy the ‘commitment to reside’ test for these applications.

Remote statutory declarations are able to be made under the Epidemic Preparedness (Oaths and Declarations Act 1957) Immediate Modification Order 2020 for

All other consent pathways may be applied for either with a remote statutory declaration or the Office may consider accepting unsworn signed statements in place of ‘good character’ and ‘true and correct’ statutory declarations.

This is only available if it is not possible for an investor to provide properly executed statutory declarations due to COVID-19.

New Applications

The legal requirement to obtain consent to acquire sensitive New Zealand assets has not changed – the Office can accept new applications.

Pre-application meetings are being conducted online. LINZ says the quality of applications are significantly higher after these meetings are held.

Applicants can ask for an application to be urgently processed with explanation of why they require urgency. Linz are currently prioritising applications that ensure an entity’s financial viability.

Quality assurance processes in place to ensure applications meet the standard to be assessed now takes up to 12 working days.

Farmland advertising requirements can still be satisfied during lockdown periods, provided the process in the Overseas Investment Regulations 2005 is followed.

Current consent holders

The Office recognises that both reporting on, and complying with, consent conditions may be challenging for some consent-holders. Consent holders concerned with compliance should contact the office as soon as possible.

Extensions to compliance reporting deadlines to 15 June 2020 are currently being considered by the Office on a case-by-case basis.

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