Legislation passed to amend treatment of overseas investment in production forestry
The Overseas Investment (Forestry) Amendment Act came into force on 16 August 2022.
The Amendment Act strengthens the rules relating to overseas investment that result in the conversion of land to production forestry.
The key change is the removal of forestry conversions from the Overseas Investment Act 2005’s ‘special forestry test’, and to instead apply the ‘benefit to New Zealand’ test to these investments. This ensures that forestry conversions by overseas investors continue to bring broad benefits to New Zealand. The Amendment Act also makes several minor changes and technical clarifications to improve the Overseas Investment Act 2005’s existing forestry provisions.
You can read the submissions and advice received by the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee on the Parliament website: Overseas Investment (Forestry) Amendment Bill - Submissions and Advice.
Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand, which administers New Zealand’s overseas investment regime, is also progressing minor and technical operational improvements to the Act’s forestry provisions. Toitū Te Whenua will publish on its website more detailed guidance on the Act’s forestry provisions once the regulator and investors have built up experience in applying the new rules.
The Treasury will continue to monitor the Act’s forestry provisions as part of its regulatory stewardship of the Overseas Investment regulatory system. You can find more information about the Treasury’s role in the regulatory management system and the systems we steward at Systems we steward.
In 2018, the Overseas Investment Amendment Act changed the way overseas investments in forestry are screened under the Act. In recognition of the importance of inward investment to forestry, and in support of the Government’s broader forestry priorities, the changes sought to: facilitate overseas investment in forestry, by streamlining consent pathways for investments, and improve the coherence of the screening regime by ensuring all types of investments in forestry are screened.
The 2018 Amendment Act also required a review of the operation and effectiveness of these changes to be initiated within two years of their taking effect.
Work on this review began in 2020 and Cabinet agreed to a Terms of Reference for the Overseas Investment Act Forestry Review in 2021.
Cabinet agreed to an amended Terms of Reference for the Overseas Investment Act 2005: Forestry Review in February 2022. The Associate Minister of Finance Hon David Parker announced a change in focus for the Forestry Review on 24 February 2022 to specifically focus on legislative change to:
- remove forestry conversions from the special forestry test under the Act, and
- improve the operation and effectiveness of the Act’s forestry provisions.
The Treasury has progressively been publicly releasing documents, such as Cabinet papers and advice relating to the Overseas Investment (Forestry) Amendment Act. These documents can be found here: