Legislation passed yesterday enables New Zealand’s overseas investment screening rules to be updated to address new challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As well as removing red tape to better welcome low-risk foreign investment, the measures include a new emergency notification regime, which will require overseas persons to notify the government of certain investments with a controlling stake in an existing business or business assets. The Government can then assess these transactions to ensure they are not contrary to New Zealand’s national interest.
The measures were introduced to Parliament in a Bill now passed under urgency, which includes some of the measures to protect New Zealand’s interests announced in November 2019 as part of the Phase Two Reform of the Overseas Investment Act. The second of two Overseas Investment Amendment Bills, No 3, has been referred to select committee. It contains the remainder of the provisions from the Phase Two Reform of the Overseas Investment Act.
Associate Minister of Finance Hon David Parker has a press release on the passing of the Bill: Better protection for New Zealand assets during COVID-19 crisis
More detailed information on the Overseas Investment Act reform regime can be found here on the Treasury website: Reform of the Overseas Investment Act
The Overseas Investment Act is New Zealand’s primary tool for managing foreign investment in New Zealand’s sensitive assets. The Act sets screening requirements for certain investments by overseas persons.