Daily Archives: November 3, 2008

Want to buy property in NZ, but are an Overseas Person?

photo Copyright (C) Auckland Airport

Basically the Overseas Investment Office assesses applications from foreigners (see “Overseas person”) who intend making investments and/or looking to purchase Sensitive Land in New Zealand.

Determining Sensitive Land

Look here to see what qualifies as “sensitive land.”

The Application Process

Check who needs to apply for consent, definitions, types of investment and how the legislation defines sensitive assets. More here

Estimated decision times

There is no statutory timeframe within which an application for consent must be decided. However, the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) aims to make a decision on high quality, straightforward applications, where no third party consultation is required or special land is involved, within 50 working days of the date of registration.

How long could it take?

What is an Overseas Person?start the process

Briefly an individual is an overseas person when they are neither:

  • a New Zealand citizen, nor
  • ordinarily resident in New Zealand.

However an “Overseas person” doesn’t necessarily just have to be an individual, it could also be a ;

  • Body Corporate (section 7(2)(b)-(c))
  • Partnership, unincorporated joint venture or other unincorporated body of persons (section 7(2)(d))
  • Trust (section 7(2)(e))
  • Unit trust (section 7(2)(f))

And it also mentions an entity that has “25% (or more) ownership or control interests”, and goes into quite a bit of discussion on this. For further details go here;

You can review the legislation and functions of the Overseas Investment Office, and find publications, information about third party submissions and contacts here.

and a PS……from personal experience….its always obvious if the property you may be interested in pursuing has waterfront or other visible sensitive land requirements….but you really need to be cautious on any type of reserve / wetland type areas, a fact I found out the hard way. A small estuarine creek meandered gently on its way hundreds of metres from the coast, and ended in a small tidal area that was adjacent to a particular property I was selling. In recent years children from the local College had, as part of science projects replanted some tussocks and other plants. It was also subsequently discovered that the area was a whitebait (common galaxias or inanga) breeding ground(thanks Deon) . The area then received a designation as a wetland reserve. This then en-acted the OIO process as my buyers at that stage weren’t NZ residents. As it turned out, they sought citizenship rather than wait for OIO approval. At the end of the story there was a happy ending and my buyers now live in their dream property.

Moral of the story is, if you are an Overseas person as classified above, get good advice.

…. and any questions re the Top of the South region, feel free to ask.