December 11, 2019

Foreigners’ financial stake in NZ up 653 pct in 28 years, says lobby group

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By Anne Gibson Property editor, From Herald

Foreign entities’ investment in rose 653 per cent in the last 28 years, according to a lobby group which opposes overseas businesses and individuals buying assets here.

Bill Rosenberg of the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa said today that foreigners’ investment had risen steeply lately.

“Foreign direct investment (ownership of companies) in New Zealand increased from $15.7b in March 1989 to $113b at March 2017,” he said.

Entities and people in own the most assets here, followed by the United States, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore, Netherlands, British Virgin Islands, Canada, China, Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Belgium, and France.

“All had over $100m in foreign direct investment in New Zealand. These accounted for 95 per cent of foreign direct investment in New Zealand and Australia alone accounts for 51 per cent. Luxembourg, British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands are tax havens, and the Netherlands has been used to avoid tax,” Rosenberg said.

“Foreign owners controlled 38 per cent of the share market in 2017. In 1989, the figure was 19 per cent and it was estimated to be below 5 per cent in 1986,” he said.

His data comes ahead of the Government move to amend the Overseas Investment Act and restrict the sale of residential and lifestyle properties to non-citizens and non-residents. The bill to change the law had its first reading in the House just before Christmas. The time frame for submissions has been extended and a select committee will report back in the next few weeks.

The campaign has been running for 42 years and aims to stop foreigners buying assets here.

Rosenberg said: “Foreign investors owned 24 per cent or $399b of net wealth in New Zealand whose commercial net value totalled $1.7 trillion at March 2016.

“They owned 27 per cent of private net wealth. This comprised housing, land, other property, plant, equipment and financial assets owned directly or indirectly by households, government, non-profit organisations and foreign investors. New Zealand residents owned a further $240 billion of investments abroad.”

IMAGE: Farmland here has been popular with foreign investors. Photo/Dean PurcellFarmland here has been popular with foreign investors. Photo/Dean Purcell

For more on this story go to: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11998864

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