Forestry Minister Shane Jones said yesterday new legislation to bring forestry rights into the overseas investment screening regime would help promote high quality foreign investment that puts more emphasis on genuine benefits for New Zealanders.
The changes to the screening regime are included in the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill, which has been under the spotlight more for its impact on foreign residents’ & citizens’ ability to invest in New Zealand residential property.
Mr Jones said: “The bill recognises the importance of forestry to New Zealanders, and I’m confident it’s struck the right balance that will boost forestry investment while ensuring the regime cannot be bypassed.
“High quality overseas investment in forestry will be an important part of achieving the Government’s One Billion Trees planting programme and will also promote economic development opportunities in our regions.
“This Government wants to see a strong & flourishing forestry sector that will create & protect jobs across the country and contribute to our climate change targets.
“Following the select committee’s review & intensive consultation with stakeholders, some key changes have been made to the bill, including increasing investors’ flexibility in obtaining consent and removing unnecessary red tape.
“Investors can now choose from any of 3 different tests when seeking to acquire forestry land or rights. The bill also ensures that investors & landowners can make minor changes to their agreements without unnecessarily having to return to the Government to obtain consent.”
The Government will report to Parliament on the operation & effectiveness of these amendments 2 years after the new regime starts.
Attribution: Ministerial release.