ln New Zealand the
purchase of rural land is governed by the Overseas lnvestment Act; in
Australia the statute is the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act. You can find both
statutes on the internet and you will need to review them. The legislation of both countries
sets a monetary threshold which triggers the requirement for consent. Accurate statistics
on the amount of farmland owned by foreigners is hard to come by. The statistics are also
blurred by joint
ventures, multiple parties and leasehold interests. ln New Zealand land in
foreign hands is probably around 10% and growing. ln Australia no reliable data are
Of course a number of countries do not permit foreigners to own land.
All questions are compulsory and carry equal marks. ln addition there are 8 “bonus points”
for grammar, written fluency and correct referencing. The marking focus is on analysis of
issues, argument and conclusions.
1. What are the concerns about foreign investment in agriculture and are those
concerns in your view valid. What stance has the Food and Agricultural Organisation
of the United Nations taken on the issue.
2. Analyse the differences between the New Zealand and Australian statutes including
the process for securing consent for foreigners to purchase farmland in the two
3. Discuss two examples (one from New Zealand and one from Australia) which have
been controversial purchases or attempted purchases of agricultural land.
4. You are asked to advise a US company which wants to purchase a farm station in the
Central North lsland. Consent is required under the Overseas lnvestment Act
because farm land is involved. The property is L4,000 hectares and is a sheep and
beef breeding and finishing and dairy support station. lt has three airstrips, a lake, a
recreational hunting blocl$ 22 houses which accommodate the families of 20
permanent sta.ff;a staff recreation,,centre.;.a’sehoqli,9l km,of wellrforrned roads; six,
cattle yards, three woolsheds and other farm buildings. The rateable value of the
property is NZD70 million.
What arguments would you use to meet the “benefit to New Zealand” test in
section 17 of theAct. You mayhave1omake fr-lrther assurnptions”of fact.