Forestry to ben­e­fit from Over­seas In­vest­ment Act changes

New Zealand Logger - - Forest Talk -

FOR­EST OWN­ERS SAY THE GOV­ERN­MENT’S an­nounce­ment that the Over­seas In­vest­ment Act would be amended to cut out red tape is a very pos­i­tive sig­nal to po­ten­tial in­vestors.

NZFOA Pres­i­dent Peter Weir says he still can’t see the point of in­clud­ing cut­ting rights, in­stead of land own­er­ship, in the scope of the Over­seas In­vest­ment Of­fice, but the deep­est ob­jec­tions have been re­moved.

He says: “We’ve had com­pa­nies who have in­vested here for decades hav­ing to go back to the OIO with another ap­pli­ca­tion, as though they were fresh ar­rivals.

“Same com­pany, same pro­posal, but an ap­pli­ca­tion that took hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars of pa­per­work and many months to get an out­come. We wel­come a more ef­fi­cient OIO pro­cess­ing sys­tem.

“For­est Own­ers said when the Bil­lion Trees in Ten Years tar­get was for­mu­lated that it would be very dif­fi­cult to achieve that many trees planted if there were oner­ous ob­sta­cles to over­seas in­vest­ment im­posed at the same time.

“Our in­dus­try as it is, will be plant­ing half of the to­tal, but to get to the bil­lion trees New Zealand will need a lot of ad­di­tional land, labour and in­vest­ment. In­vestors are very sen­si­tive to mar­ket sig­nals, and quite frankly the gov­ern­ment sig­nals have been mixed over the past few months.

“We ac­cept that over­seas in­vest­ment is a priv­i­lege and not a right. We know there are rules to be fol­lowed. But rules for the sake of rules get in the way of achiev­ing the gov­ern­ment’s laud­able goals of pro­vid­ing eco­nomic boosts to re­gional in­dus­try and more trees are what the ex­perts agree are the only vi­able way for our coun­try to achieve its green­house gas emis­sion tar­gets.

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