New Zealand Law Society - Land purchases by overseas companies approved

Land purchases by overseas companies approved

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The Overseas Investment Office has approved three purchases of New Zealand land by foreign-controlled companies.

Foley Family Wines Ltd, which is NZX-listed but majority owned by US-based Bill Foley, has been granted consent to buy Mt Difficulty Wines Ltd in Central Otago.

Mt Difficulty is a medium-sized vineyard known for its Mt Difficulty and Roaring Meg labels and particularly its pinot noir. The purchase includes about 70 hectares of freehold land and about 110 hectares of leasehold land.

The Overseas Investment Office says Foley Family Wines’ application took about 8½ months to process, during which the Office and the Ministers of Land Information and Finance undertook "a robust assessment of the application to ensure the investment would provide substantial and identifiable benefits to New Zealand."

Austrian-based OMV New Zealand is buying two offshore Taranaki gas fields and onshore production and storage facilities, after receiving consent under the Overseas Investment Act.

Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage and Associate Finance Minister David Clark approved two applications from OMV in December.

The company will buy a majority interest in Maui and Pohokura from UK-owned Shell. It will also buy a minority interest in Maui from New Zealand’s Todd Corporation. OMV will end up owning 74% of the Pohokura gas field and 100% of the Maui gas field.

James Hardie New Zealand, which is owned by the global James Hardie group of companies, has been granted approval to buy a 61-hectare property at Kaukapakapa to extract and process silica sand for fibre cement products used in the construction industry.

The conditions of the overseas investment consent require James Hardie to develop the land, not export the extracted sand, and carry out ecological mitigation and enhancement measures on the land as required under the resource consents granted by Auckland Council in June 2018.

Approval to purchase the land was required under the Overseas Investment Act because it is rural land over five hectares.