New Zealand Law Society - Ombudsman considers OIO consent summaries

Ombudsman considers OIO consent summaries

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Ombudsman Ron Paterson has released a case note on his investigation of complaints made by the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA) against various decisions made by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) to withhold information redacted from some of the summaries of its decisions on consent applications for investment in sensitive New Zealand assets.

The summaries are routinely published on the OIO part of the Land Information New Zealand website.

Between September 2012 and February 2015 CAFCA has submitted 10 complaints to the Ombudsman, relating to 108 decision summaries released by the OIO.

Because CAFCA regularly requests that OIO provide it with the information withheld from published decision summaries, the Ombudsman met representatives of CAFCA and OIO to discuss the decisions, complaints and investigations.

Professor Paterson says the meeting led to a review by the OIO of its procedures and a revised decision in respect of information withheld from many of the summaries, with acceptance that in many cases the consideration or price paid by an applicant for OIO consent could be released.

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