New Zealand to ban foreign buyers of rural land

tony nguyen

New regulations could prevent foreign companies from buying land in New Zealand.

The new bill, which is being introduced by the country’s Parliament, comes after a controversial bid from a Chinese company to buy 16 dairy farms in Crafar, North Island.

The Government had approved the bid from the Chinese firm; however, it was later overturned by the High Court. This was because the benefits had to be measured against another alternative bidder.

As a result, there has been a call for the change in the law from Labour leader David Shearer.

Mr. Shearer wants the law altered so that governments can reject any foreign bid to buy New Zealand farms. They only condition upon which foreign companies would be considered to buy New Zealand farms is if the move would stimulate employment in the area and lead to more exports.

The proposal may deter foreign investment in the country’s rural property sector. Only new technologies and new products would be considered under the proposed policy.

Currently there are 41 new applications to snap up rural New Zealand land from foreign buyers with the Overseas Investment Office, affecting a massive 16,000 hectres.

Speaking to Property Wire Mr Shearer said: “We also do not want to see New Zealand farms priced out of the reach of Kiwi farmers who are the best in the world at what they do.

“We don't want foreign corporates buying our land and seeing the value flow out of New Zealand.”

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