GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – Land Sales The Facts

Cartoon by Craig Powell

Thank you to the many people who commented on my post last week asking why we do not lease land to overseas investors rather than sell it . I am sorry I cannot reply to you all but I appreciate the fact that , by and large, we are able to have an adult conversation about this important issue .

It does cause me some concern however that some people want to shout “Xenophobia” and “dog whistling” whenever I mention China in the context of land sales.

To Those people I say I don’t make issues up. If you go to the Land Information New Zealand site you will read that the top three countries by net investment in 2019 were China Canada and Singapore.

You will also read there the OIO made decisions made last year on 145 applications from overseas people wanting to invest in New Zealand’s sensitive land and assets – an increase from 97 applications in 2018.

Most were approved, six applications for sensitive rural land were declined.

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You will further read that the OIO oversaw more than $17.5 billion of overseas investment in New Zealand in 2019- up on 2018, when the gross investment was $12.5 billion.

If you would like to view, say, the decisions for last December you can find them here.

The ethnicity of overseas money buying New Zealand land doesn’t matter . What matters is the close link between land and identity – as a people and a nation – that we ignore at our peril.

In my view, you should only be able to buy property in New Zealand if you live and work here. Overseas investors should only be able to lease.

PS: Am I the only person who see some irony in the fact that it is a Green Party Minister of Conservtion and Land Information (Eugenie Sage ) that has been overseeing these sales ?


Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.


  1. You are 100% correct. It is crazy! Also nobody is allowed to talk about it, and statistics like the census seems to be deliberately allowed to fail, so nobody is allowed to know anything.

  2. Kia ora Bryan
    “Am I the only person who see some irony in the fact that it is a Green Party Minister of Conservation and Land Information (Eugenie Sage ) that has been overseeing these sales ?”
    You may be. The fact is that the present government is made up of the three parties most likely, on the basis of their public statements, to restrict foreign ownership of land, and in particular ownership of New Zealand land by Chinese nationals.
    But it hasn’t happened and it will not happen despite all the lobbying from activists such as yourself.
    The real irony is that people who think that colonialism is somehow OK (calling the colonial regime “a modern representative democracy”, a “de facto republic” and so on) expect that the regime can act completely out of character by banning foreign land ownership, foreign investment and foreign control of policy.
    That belief is a counter-productive delusion which distracts people from doing the things that they can and must do in order to advance our progress towards true nationhood.

    • Sage is taking land off West Coasters both Maori and Parkiha with no compenation and the Greens are hoping to win Maori seats .

  3. @ Bryan Bruce, you should also remember the same thing happens if anybody does anything for Palastine. Aka anyone or any organisation or media article who supports a Palestinian state gets a harassment campaign against them, presumably led and organised by pro zionist lobby groups around the world.

    Israel also loves organising free education trips for influential people in every walk of life in every part of the world and did it before the Chinese started the practise, which seems very effective to keep grass roots dissension under control.

    International government organised propaganda is all around us and being used relentlessly.

    • OOOO… I’d love a free ‘educational trip’ myself,… but once home would happily shit all over my sponsors.

      No skin off my nose.

      F@ck em.

      Now,… how to become ‘ influential?’… perhaps grab a well paid salary at the taxpayers expense ( preferably at the corporate’s mingy tax inputs) and become a parliamentarian.

      That oughta do it.

  4. Who knew the Treaty of Waitangi had a side agreement to share Tino rangatiratanga with Singapore, OZ, China and Canada…

    • Nah mate- that’s 19th century old news, these days the neo liberal ‘we have a mandate ‘ crowd feel free to overrule that yellowed , musty scrap of historic parchment.

      However,… there are much more than they would like to figure on who actually pay credence to that ‘ yellowed , musty scrap of historic parchment ‘ than they would like to admit.

      F@ck em.

      Bring it on.

  5. … ” In my view, you should only be able to buy property in New Zealand if you live and work here. Overseas investors should only be able to lease ” …


    DEAD RIGHT !!!!


    …” PS: Am I the only person who see some irony in the fact that it is a Green Party Minister of Conservtion and Land Information (Eugenie Sage ) that has been overseeing these sales ?” …



    Bang To Rights – Motorhead

    Watch that and cringe Wokies – get some Motorhead up ya !!!


    Grab a pair and start acting like you belong in parliament. We are not paying you a ton of dosh to be some sort of sell out carpetbagger.

    I’m sick of having to puke every time you clowns make a decision.

  6. Capitalization of Natural Resources (e.g. Land)

    Full capitalization of nature and natural resources (in this case of land) is a central piece of neo-liberal ideology. It is a foundation stone of contemporary capitalism.

    Present “ownership” of natural resources (in this case of land) is an invention of unfolding capitalism, taking over certain feudal aspects, further developed mainly in the interest of large-scale “investors”. Those “investors” show an increased trend for global operations (‘globalization’).

    This has led to very substantial grabbing of natural resources (in this case land-grabbing) allover the world and a symbiotic relationship between local capitalist entities and international agents using the legal framework of the nation-state to harness profit objectives.

    Subsequently and gradually, it leads to ownership of natural resources concentrated in the hands of a few, whilst the overwhelming majority of the population is paying fees and prices to access these natural resources (in this case land).

    One can see this very nicely developing in NZAO. As a showcase take a look at the South Island and the use of it natural resources.

    Over the past 20-30 years international capital (“investors”), supported by banks, real estate agents, lawyers and financial consultants, have created a global web of options and possibilities that hosts basically limitless trading of all such ‘commodities’ across the borders of a specific nation state.

    ……often this is very much similar to the company registration and banking process in so-called tax-havens, all legally valid.

    Nowadays, classification by nation-state has only very limited analytical value, as it statistically simply represents the registering entities / actors in the process.

    Much more important is to understand the socio-economic structure (class structure) behind these actors. You may probably discover that the capital and class structure behind these deals is similar across all large-scale land “investors”, regardless whether they run under a Chinese, Canadian, Singaporean or other flag.

    And, similarly important: where are the sellers in this transfer of land? Where are the traders? Where are the law-makers?

    Indeed, the danger with simplistic national symbolism / designation is that is can easily be used to appeal to xenophobic responses in a society.

    The system of individual ‘ownership’ of natural resources has to be replaced by a differentiated system of (temporary) stewardship governed under an agreed communal mechanism.

    Who is the actual target group for such ads?

  7. Land ownership by NZ citizens only and if that citizenship expires, accompanying land should be sold.
    The alternative is that the NZ Govt owns all land and citizens using it and pay a fair rental based on use. Try buying land in China Kiwis, or many other countries.

  8. Before anyone buys land in Aotearoa they should first be required to sign a document agreeing to certain conditions:

    – To respect the land and all natural features it contains, at all times.
    – To respect and protect all natural water within the property boundaries, or flowing through it.
    – To respect and protect all native or heritage flora and fauna within that property.
    – To protect the land and the water, and all that they contain, from any and all forms of contamination or abuse.

    That land to be forfeited if any of the above are not followed through.

    • Good luck there, Kheala.. I think you will find that they are just here for profits and a bolthole in the majority and fail to follow through on any of their OIA pledges or their citizenship pledges. Until they find a way to throw out the criminals both business and individuals than it’s naive thinking. Think Peter Thiel and OMV to name many examples of those creaming profits here or not meeting criteria or pledges. Our government does nothing.

      The best remedy is to stop more corporations and individuals from overseas coming, while getting rid of the offenders who are already here as corporations or using the NZ citizen/permanent residency title to make NZ poorer and more socially harmed.

  9. Bryan, Your link to the December sales turns up as “Page cannot be found. Error 404.” And, I have checked around the site and still cannot find it.

  10. So, how do we stop this? How do we end the sale of AO/ NZ, of the land and the water, to overseas buyers?

    Until we do, we’re in the situation of a person being consumed by a giant anaconda.

  11. One thing that is wrong about all this is the use of the term “Investment” when it involves sale of the land to someone overseas, or to some international corporation or to some entity representing a foreign government.

    The purchaser becomes the owner. That is not investment in Aotearoa NZ. And the signing of whatever agreements to follow up by “investing” in AO/ NZ does not make that purchase an investment. It’s a sale.

    The OIO is a misuse of terminology. It is the land SALES office, under a rough disguise.

    These vast land sales, of the body of Aotearoa NZ to foreign owners, have to end!! As does the selling of our underground aquifers. (We are already in a state of serious drought in many parts of the NZ.)

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