Consultation begins on overseas investment reform

16 April 2019

Treasury today released a 121 page consultation document to invite feedback on the Government's second phase review the Overseas Investment Act.

Key areas for reform are:

  • consideration of a 'national interest' test, which could allow Ministers to block certain transactions or operate as a form of escalation of, or replacement to, the benefit to New Zealand test
  • whether there should be greater ability to consider national security, water, and Māori cultural values when assessing the impact of an investment
  • what information the government should request from investors to ensure they are of good character, and
  • the removal of anomalies.

One anomaly that Chapman Tripp has been highlighting is that some iconic New Zealand companies such as Fletcher Building, Ryman and Spark are deemed to be overseas persons because of their dispersed and passive portfolio ownership – despite control being clearly in New Zealand hands

We will prepare a detailed commentary on the scope of the proposed reforms in the next couple of weeks.

Submissions close on 24 May 2019. Treasury will also run a series of public meetings and hui.

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