Foreign Land Sales Bill Defeated

by Desk Editor on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 — 8:39 PM

A bill seeking to tighten the rules about the sale of rural land to foreign buyers has been voted down.

The Overseas Investment (Owning our Own Rural Land) Amendment Bill aims to limit the sale of rural land to foreign buyers by narrowing the tests of acceptability under the Overseas Investment Act. It would require foreign investment to deliver benefits that would be over and above what a New Zealand investor would produce. It would also seek that substantial job creation and increases in exports are the most important factors to be considered.

The bill’s sponsor Phil Goff said New Zealanders had a deep culture about ownership of land and in particular rural land. People had not come to New Zealand to be tenants in their own land and wanted to maintain local ownership.

It was not known how much land was in foreign ownership, just as the Government did not know how many foreign residents owned homes, Mr Goff said. He said Labour had allowed too much land to be sold in Government, but that was no longer its policy.

Mr Goff said he was in favour of foreign investment, but it had to benefit New Zealand and his bill would do this.

Melissa Lee said the bill was a disappointing one coming as it did from a former minister of trade negotiations who had worked hard to encourage foreign investment.

The bill was defeated by 61 to 60 with National, ACT and United Future opposed.

MPs began the first reading debate of the Fighting Foreign Corporate Control Bill

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