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Reform of the Overseas Investment Act

Following public consultation earlier this year, and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic downturn, the Government has agreed to changes to the Overseas Investment Act.

Associate Finance Minister David Parker announced the changes on 13 May 2020.

Read the Minister's media statement on the Beehive website: New measures to protect New Zealand’s national interest during COVID-19 crisis.

Two Bills were introduced in the House of Representative on 14 May 2020. These are available on the Legislation website:

  • Overseas Investment (Urgent Measures) Amendment Bill -  This Bill contains measures which the Government considers need to be put in place urgently to mitigate the economic effects of COVID-19. Its purpose is to ensure that risks posed by foreign investment can be managed effectively while better supporting productive overseas investment by reducing the regulatory burden of the screening process. 
  • Overseas Investment Amendment Bill (No 3) - This Bill contains other measures from the Phase two reform of the Overseas Investment Act 2005 which the Government considers do not need to be put in place urgently to mitigate the economic effects of COVID-19. 

Resources have been prepared to provide details of the changes:

The Treasury has also released the related Cabinet paper: Cabinet Paper DEV-20-SUB-0066: COVID-19 Economic Response: Reform of the Overseas Investment Act (1 May 2020).

Ministerial Directive Letter and guidance on foreign investment policy

The Minister of Finance has issued the Ministerial Directive Letter directing the Overseas Investment Office (the Regulator), on the Government’s general policy approach to overseas investment, the terms of conditions of consent, monitoring conditions of consent, and other matters relating to the Regulators functions, powers and duties. In addition, the Treasury has issued guidance on New Zealand's foreign investment policy including on how the new national interest test and national security and public order call-in power will be applied by the government. This guidance is also incorporated into the Ministerial Directive Letter.

Key information releases

  • Phase 2 Overseas Investment Act Reform (October 2018, July 2019, May 2020) - Treasury advice and Cabinet material relating to the 2018 to 2020 Phase 2 review of the Overseas Investment Act 2005 that was seeking to better ensure that investments by overseas persons are consistent with New Zealand's national interest.
  • Overseas Investment Act Submissions (19 December 2019) – Material includes a report summarising submissions received on Phase 2 Overseas Investment Act reform, individual submissions and related Cabinet material seeking agreement to the Phase 2 reform of the Overseas Investment Act 2005.

Prior consultation process

The consultation document issued in April 2019 sought feedback on issues relating to the types of assets that are screened, who is screened, and how the screening process is conducted.

Find out more about the Review

For general enquiries about Phase 2 of the Overseas Investment Act reform, please email [email protected]

All media enquiries should be directed to: [email protected]

Last updated: 
Wednesday, 15 December 2021