Date posted: 9/06/2020 3 min read

Changes for overseas investors looking to invest in NZ

The Overseas Investment Act has been amended to balance overseas investment supporting New Zealand’s economic recovery and protecting the country’s interests.

In Brief

  • Changes to the Overseas Investment Act will impact overseas investors
  • They come into force from 16 June 2020
  • Rules have been simplified so that some low-risk transactions no longer need consent

Changes to the Overseas Investment Act will be in force from 16 June 2020 and will impact overseas investors looking to invest in or purchase New Zealand businesses or land.

The law changes are designed to balance the important role overseas investment will play in supporting New Zealand's economic growth and recovery, while also seeking to ensure New Zealand's interests are protected.

A temporary emergency notification requirement is being introduced. Overseas investors will need to notify the Overseas Investment Office of all overseas investments resulting in more than 25% overseas ownership of a New Zealand business or its assets, or an increase to an existing holding beyond 50, 75 or to 100%.

These transactions will be assessed to ensure they are in line with New Zealand's national interests. This affects overseas investors that meet requirements and New Zealand businesses seeking overseas investment.

Overseas investors and businesses seeking investment should get advice from their advisors, for example a lawyer or accountant.

Notifications will commence from 16 June via the Land Information NZ website under overseas investment. While the Overseas Investment Office is also currently working on a range of material to support businesses, investors and their advisors from 16 June, this does not replace independent advice.

New national interest test A new national interest test will also be applied to transactions that already need consent. Whether it applies depends on whether it is a strategically important asset, a non-New Zealand government investor, or an area of specific national interest.

This will ensure that overseas investments in sensitive and high-risk assets are not contrary to New Zealand's national interests. This affects overseas investors currently screened by the Overseas Investment Act.

Overseas investors should seek advice from a legal advisor about what this change may mean for an application – the test will only be applied in limited situations as it is intended to be used rarely.

The existing rules have been simplified so that some low-risk transactions no longer need consent. These changes will help listed companies and investments that adjoin sensitive land. This affects overseas investors who should seek advice from a legal advisor.

Overseas Investment (Urgent Measures) Amendment Act 2020

Read the act

Contact the Overseas Investment Office

If you are unsure whether you need to notify, or if you have any questions, please email the Overseas Investment Office.

Email the OIO