New Zealand to tighten rules for foreign investors

19 November 2019 - 12:00 am UTC

New Zealand will introduce new rules for overseas buyers of critical infrastructure, the government announced today.

Legislation to apply a “national interest test” to sales of critical infrastructure involving foreign buyers will be introduced early next year. 

The move comes after a year-long review by the Treasury department of the 2005 Overseas Investment Act.

Currently, the law does not require sales of assets such as ports and airports, telecommunications infrastructure or electricity to be assessed through “a national interest lens”, Associate Finance Minister David Parker said in a statement ​​​​.

The national interest check will apply to investments above NZD 500m (USD 320m) for an Australian buyer, NZD 200m for countries that are part of the recently agreed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and NZD 100m for all other investors.

The government has previously said the changes would bring New Zealand law in line with that of other countries such as Australia and Canada.

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