Forty-one applications from overseas bidders to buy 16,200 hectares of sensitive land in New Zealand are in limbo in front of the Overseas Investment Office as it tries to decipher and apply a High Court ruling which appears to have put tougher requirements on foreigners buying land here.
RadioLive reported this morning from the results of an Official Information Act request (OIA) that each application was being assessed on a case-by-case basis after the High Court ruled the OIO needed to revise its decision to sell the 16 Crafar farms to Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin, by applying a different 'economic benefits' test to the application.
The OIO said the High Court ruling may affect all current and future applications to buy sensitive land.
It now required all existing and new applicants to provide new evidence of how they would meet the new test of what economic benefits they would bring to New Zealand via their investments.
Justice Forrest Miller ruled in the Wellington High Court last month that economic benefits promised by a foreign bidder needed to be "identifiable and substantial".
That has the Overseas Investment Office now comparing benefits promised by overseas applicants to buy sensitive land to what a hypothetical local bidder would offer if they bought the land. The offer price is not a factor in the comparison.
The majority of land currently being reviewed by the OIO for sale is across the central North Island. The 41 applications were as at the end of February, the OIO said in response to the OIA request from Radio Live.