Mark Patterson, Spokesperson for Primary Industries
Today the Government announced the delivery of the promise to protect New Zealand interests by applying a new National Interest Test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers.
This further strengthening of the Overseas Investment Act will deliver a major Coalition commitment agreement between New Zealand First and Labour.
New Zealand First called for a National Interest Test to ensure that sales of these assets to overseas companies will benefit New Zealand.
There has been an alarming trend of our nation’s key strategic assets being sold overseas said New Zealand First’s spokesperson for Primary Industries Mark Patterson MP.
“We’ve already stopped offshore purchases of our residential homes and restricted the sale of farms, so let’s keep key strategic Kiwi assets in Kiwi hands.
“The National Interest Test will treat the sale and retention of key strategic assets much more seriously.
“The sad sale of Westland Milk Products to a Chinese company proved the need for a national interest test as part of the overseas investment office process so we can counter foreign companies forking out cash to get their way.
“We need to balance the short-term gains of the sale of assets overseas against the long-term benefits for the country and the National Interest Test will help us do so,” said Mr Patterson.
Under the new test, any investment ordinarily screened under the Act and found contrary to New Zealand’s national interest could be declined.
New Zealand’s economic, security, and other interests would be considered when deciding this. This is a ‘backstop’ tool, to be used rarely, and it does not represent any change in New Zealand’s openness to high quality foreign investment.