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.
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 ?