Foreign farm ownership to be limited in New Zealand

THE New Zealand government is to clamp down on overseas investors buying large land holdings, due to public concern that foreigners are buying too much farmland.

New measures will allow government officials to consider if New Zealand’s economic interests are adequately safeguarded and promoted in land deals.

Widespread concern had been sparked by a Hong Kong-based company’s bid to buy 16 farms, covering 20,000 acres in the central North Island.

New Zealand will still seek foreign funding to aid its economy, but a ministerial directive to the Overseas Investment Office is expected to provide clarity and certainty for potential investors, ahead of the expected sale of a number of large land holdings, likely to come onto the market in the next few years.

The purchase of more than 370,000 acres of farm land was approved between 2005 and 2010, with 60 approvals for buyers from the US, 36 from Britain, 24 from Australia, and nine from Asian countries.


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