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OIO approvals secured by school donations

By Craig Nelson - 4 Mar 2016

Recent Overseas Investment Office (OIO) approvals show that making donations to local schools can help overseas investors obtain consent to invest in New Zealand.

Overseas investors wanting to invest in "Sensitive Land" in New Zealand must satisfy the OIO that their investment will result in specific benefits. And that benefit can include donations to schools or other charitable organisations.

Generally, a committed investor looking to buy sensitive land which is used for a business purpose will obtain consent, provided they submit a quality application. This is because a committed investor has scope to demonstrate that economic benefits will arise from their proposed business initiatives. Examples of benefits might include employing more staff or exporting more goods. However, obtaining consent to invest in residential properties can be more challenging, because there is less scope for demonstrating economic benefits.

With 21 different benefit factors available under the law (some economic factors and some non-economic factors) there is plenty of scope for creativity in OIO applications. These recent OIO decisions serve as a useful reminder that non-economic benefits can be crucial to obtaining approval.

In our experience, a committed and creative investor looking to add value and working with experienced legal advisors should be confident in securing OIO consent.

Our team has extensive experience in advising overseas clients on their investments in New Zealand, whether in the context of share investments, business asset investments or land investments. We have prepared and submitted many successful OIO applications for a range of clients across a broad range of industries, including forestry, viticulture, financial services and manufacturing.

If you are an overseas investor planning to invest in New Zealand, or if you are a vendor planning to sell to overseas investors, contact our specialists for advice: Craig Nelson (Commercial) or Melissa Clark (Property).


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