Foreign land buyers face big fines

Thursday 11 November 2004

Foreigners who buy New Zealand land face $300,000 fines if they breach consents under law changes before Parliament.

By The Landlord

Under the changes, overseas buyers will be required to state how they would manage historic, heritage, conservation and public access issues, with tougher penalities if they fail to comply. Foreigners who do not meet conditions now face maximum fines of $30,000 and companies fines up to $100,000. The Overseas Investment Bill, introduced to Parliament yesterday, will increase the maximums to $300,000.

The bill is the Government's response to concern about the purchase of coastal land and South Island high country farms by wealthy overseas buyers, such as the 2002 sale of Young Nicks Head and Waitai Station, on D'Urville Island, in 1999.

The bill would not have prevented either, but would have allowed tighter restrictions on cultural, historical and public access issues in the case of Young Nicks Head. It seeks to strike a balance, tightening conditions while not scaring off investors.

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