INDEPENDENT NEWS

Nats Liberalised Foreign Investment In Last Days

Published: Tue 21 Dec 1999 03:05 PM
National Liberalised Foreign Investment Rules In Its Last Days - Cafca Calls On New Government To Reverse Them.
The Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA) has only recently learned that one of the last acts of the National government, done without fanfare, was to liberalise the rules governing foreign investment, specifically those involving the level at which foreign investors require approval from the rubber stamp Overseas Investment Commission (OIC). To quote from the Commission’s Website:
“Cabinet has recently approved amendments to the Overseas Investment Regulations 1995. These amendments were gazetted on 11 November 1999 and are due to come into effect on 9 December 1999. There are two main amendments: “* The threshold at which non-land investments require consent under Regulation 5, has been increased from NZ$10 million to NZ$50 million; and * Regulation 9 has had three further types of transactions added to it. The effect of this is that the following three types of transactions are exempt from requiring consent under Regulation 8.
“1.The acquisition of some parcels of urban land which are over 5 hectares in area, do not include sensitive land and are not used for farming; 2.The acquisition of forestry rights and forestry cutting rights; and 3.The acquisition of easements that confer rights to transmit or convey services, such as water, electricity and gas.” … And: “The Overseas Investment Commission now has responsibility for administering the overseas persons provisions of the Fisheries Act 1996. This change came into effect on 1 October 1999…”
This increase of the consent threshhold, from $10m to $50m, will have the effect of allowing many more foreign takeovers without public scrutiny, and without even the minimal oversight of the OIC. What’s more, National loosened the regulations even further and gave the OIC new powers (in fishing).
This major liberalisation of foreign investment laws, done quietly just weeks before the election by a National government that knew it faced imminent defeat, is scandalous, and we call upon the new Government to reverse it as a matter of urgency. Furthermore, we urge the Labour/Alliance government to give priority to rolling back New Zealand’s status as a mere branch office of transnational corporations. That would be the best Christmas present it could give the people of New Zealand.
Murray Horton Secretary/Organiser
Ph/fax (03) 3663988 day/night
CAFCA Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa PO Box 2258, Christchurch
ends

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