Mayne Wetherell has produced a guide to doing business in New Zealand to provide overseas investors, and their advisers, with information about investing here.
The guide summarises inbound investment, immigration, investment structures, financial services regulation, tax, securities, takeovers, intellectual property, employment, land law, and trade practices.
Useful links to market events and commentary.
Purchaser fined $100,000 after giving false information to Overseas Investment Office
An overseas investor pleaded guilty and has been convicted and fined $100,000 in the Auckland District Court for misleading the Overseas Investment Office (OI) during an investigation into a property transaction. This is the first time a person has been convicted of an offence under the Overseas Investment Act 2005.
Directors’ fee setting needs reform: NZSA
The way directors' fees are set needs to be reformed to overcome "the obvious conflicts of interest" of directors deciding how much to pay themselves, according to New Zealand Shareholders' Association director Martin Watson. There is "a clear conflict of interest when directors themselves select and arrange payment for a remuneration consultant to advise on the level of fees that the directors will be paid," Watson wrote in the latest edition of NZSA's newsletter, The Scrip.
BlackRock’s stark warning on business risk
Climate change risk. Longer-term sustainability of companies. The reshaping of finance. Transparency of reporting. Connection to purpose. These were all key themes of this year’s annual letter to CEOs from BlackRock chairman and CEO Larry Fink. The key concept was that continuing to adopt an ingrained, short-term, myopic, shareholder-return-is- the-goal strategy would lead only to moral, and eventually financial, bankruptcy. Instead, Fink astutely observed that “society is increasingly looking to companies, both public and private, to address pressing social and economic issues”.
Farm Debt Mediation Scheme – next steps
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is taking steps to establish the new Farm Debt Mediation Scheme, which will begin operating on 1 July 2020. As of now, the MPI will be able to consider applications from mediation organisations wanting to take part in this scheme. "We've already heard from leading mediation organisations that are interested in participating. If an organisation is approved, they will then make sure their mediators are trained for the new scheme," says Karen Adair, MPI's deputy director-general of Agriculture and Investment Services.
OIO puts enforcement at the forefront in busy 2019
The OIO took an increased number of enforcement actions against overseas investors who didn’t follow the rules during a busy 12 months for the regulator. Group manager for the OIO, Vanessa Horne, says the office took 45 enforcement actions last year, up from 39 actions in 2018. Actions included requiring investors to sell assets. “It’s a privilege for overseas people to invest in New Zealand,” Ms Horne says. “The OIO ensures investors get consent when they should, provide honest and complete information, and deliver on the commitments they make when they get OIO consent.”
Pressures weaken dairy land values
Dairy land values are being undermined by three factors that are unlikely to disappear within the next five years, a new Rabobank report says. The report’s author, Rabobank dairy analyst Emma Higgins, said tighter credit availability, reduced flows of foreign capital and environmental concerns would contribute to softer dairy land prices across the country in the short to medium term.