Law change could boost NZ forestry

Wednesday 27 Jun 2018

An overseas investment law overhaul could boost forestry businesses and add about $4 billion to annual export earnings, says Forestry Minister Shane Jones.

The Overseas Investment Amendment Bill, which a select committee reported back on yesterday, would ease the way for foreign businesses to invest and expand, almost doubling annual returns, he predicted.

"We already plant about 60 million trees a year and we've got to get to 100 million a year so potentially international capital, in partnership with landowners, could boost about a $6.4b foreign exchange earner to $10b per annum over time," he said.

"Forestry is a long-term play but as the sector expands with partnership capital, the foreign exchange earnings will grow. This won't happen overnight but an increase in Japanese forestry investment would be so welcome in places like Kaitaia and the Tai Rawhiti," he said.

Although the law aims to restrict foreigners' access to New Zealand housing, Jones said it freed up rules for global forestry businesses arriving or doing business here.

"Forestry is going to enjoy a lighter touch. The applications to the Overseas Investment Office will no longer have to go through such a constipated administrative tract. It will be quicker and why? Because forestry has a key role to play in climate change.

"It will be simpler for international firms to go through the OIO when they want to sell to other international firms. It will be simpler for international firms wanting to establish commercial forests here," he said.

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Source: NZ Herald

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