CAFCA - Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa

Foreign investment in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Overseas Investment Office - January 2021 Decisions

Retrospective Application By Residential Developers Declined

Trinity Green Estate Partnership (NZ 50%, Hong Kong 50%) was declined consent to acquire approximately 8.5030 ha. at 80 Laurent Road, Cambridge from an unnamed NZ individual for $6,105,000. The OIO stated that Trinity Green applied for retrospective consent for acquisition of the land in 2016. Trinity Green is a partnership formed between two companies in 2016 for the purpose of acquiring and develop the land.

It intended to undertake a residential development but has been unable to make much progress to date. The land was zoned as "deferred residential" when acquired so future residential development was likely to occur. The OIO needed to be satisfied the investment will or is likely to result in substantial and identifiable benefit to NZ.

Without this investment, the land is likely to be developed for residential purposes. Trinity Green did not satisfy the OIO there would be sufficient benefit to New Zealand, additional to what would occur without the Investment. Overall, the OIO was not satisfied that all the s.16 criteria in Act were met. I guess that means they now need to sell the land on for someone else to have a go.

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Summit Buys Another Northland Forest

Summit Forests New Zealand Ltd (Japan 100%) has consent to acquire approximately 284.1072 ha. at Herekino, Northland and approximately 786.8812 ha. at Taipa, Northland (Adamson Forest) from Smith Road Farm Ltd, Paranui Forest Ltd, and Dalian Koushin Enterprise Group Co., Ltd (China PR 100%). Price withheld.

The OIO states that Summit Forests applied under the special test for forestry under s.16A(4) of the Act. Summit Forests is an NZ-based subsidiary of Sumitomo Corporation which owns and manages commercial forestry assets, primarily in Northland. These are two existing commercial forests, being Twin Valley Forest near Herekino and Adamson Forest near Taipa. Summit Forests is also buying the forestry rights over standing trees on the land. The total area of 1,070 ha. has 702 ha. in radiata pine, which will be reduced slightly to 670 hectares from increases in infrastructure and buffer areas.

The combined unplanted area will increase to 374 ha., with 329 ha. of this in retained in native bush. Summit Forests intends to continue commercial forestry and replant following harvest. For Summit's previous forestry consents, see March 2020, June 2017, August 2016, December 2015, September 2014, November 2012 and July 2018. In October 2018 Sumitomo was listed No.13 on RNZ's list of NZ's top 50 land owners.

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Austrian Countess Gets Her Third Forest

Veronika Leeb-Goess-Saurau (Austria 100%) has consent to acquire approximately 415 ha. at 454 Ridgemount Road, Tutira, Hawkes Bay, from Michael Satchwell and Carol Joyce Satchwell as trustees of the Kanui Farm Trust (NZ 100%) for $3,460,000. The OIO states that Leeb-Goess-Saurau applied under the special test for forestry activities under s.16A (4) of the Act. The land adjoins Carlsberg Forest, another property she owns. The land is currently a sheep and beef finishing farm with another small flock of sheep.

Leeb-Goess-Saurau intends to convert the land to forestry, planting approximately 354.5 ha. in pinus radiata. The remaining 60.9 ha. is unplantable. She expects to harvest in 2047 for sale to domestic and export markets, then replant in 2048. The land is a combination of Land Use Capability Classification Class 7 (approximately seven ha.) and LUC Class 6 (approximately 396 ha) which are generally suitable for pastoral or forestry uses.

In addition, there is approximately 12 ha. classified as LUC Class 4 which is generally suitable for cropping and horticulture, as well as pastoral or forestry. See December 2016 for this Austrian countess's first forestry consent, and April 2019 for the one that included a hefty fine when her agent skirted the OIO rules.

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UK Landlords Buy Another NZ Forest

Ellis Campbell (NZ) Ltd (UK 100%) has consent to acquire approximately 30.73 ha. at State Highway 63, Marlborough; and 28.744 ha. at Wairau Valley Road, Marlborough, from ACO Custodians (NZ 100%) and Drumlanrig Forest Holdings No. 1 Ltd (NZ 100%) for $739,380. The OIO states that Ellis Campbell Ltd applied under the special test for forestry activities in s.16A(4) of the Act.

It is a subsidiary of a family-owned UK company. It has previously invested in NZ, with forestry investments here for 29 years. This land is currently used for commercial forestry. Approximately 56.3 ha. is existing Pinus radiata forest, and 3.174 hectares is unplantable. The land will continue to be used for forestry activities and replanted after harvest.

The Ellis Campbell Group was founded in Lancashire in 1877, combining a real estate agency and a machine tools manufacturer to build back-to-back houses to rent to the manufacturer's workers. Its portfolio was entirely rented houses until the mid-1970s, when commercial property was added. The Group co-founded and has invested in funds operated by C2 Capital (aka Stenprop), including two underwriting funds and a Morgan Stanley-backed multi-let industrial fund. For its investments in NZ forestry see May 1995, September 1998 and March 2020.

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Australian Company With NZ Owners Still Requires Consent

J&L Tyler Property Pty Ltd (NZ 100%) has consent to acquire approximately 92 ha. at 117 Knutsford Road, Otautau, Southland, from Greenend Partnership Ltd (NZ 100%) for $999,900. The OIO states that overseas persons intending to reside in NZ indefinitely are not required to show that their investment in sensitive land is likely to benefit NZ. his supports migrants in the process of moving to NZ. The individuals with control of J&L Tyler Property are NZ citizens; however, because of the structure for investment, OIO consent is required. These individuals are already living in NZ close to the land and meet the criteria for consent. J&L Tyler Property was registered in Brisbane in August 2019.

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