The Green Party is welcoming stage two of the review of the Overseas Investment Act (OIA), which will look into water extraction and Māori cultural values as part of the benefits test, Green Party Co-Leader Marama Davidson said today.
“The way the previous National Government applied the OIA to sensitive rural land made it easier for overseas investors to buy up extensive areas of farmland.
“This is of huge concern to the vast majority of New Zealanders who care about our natural environment, especially Māori for whom local lands and waters are an integral part of who they are.
“The special connection we have with our lands and waters makes us who we are as New Zealanders and we want to ensure the rules are tightened up. It shouldn’t be about whether or not we can make a buck.
“In response to Green Party calls for action, this Government will now ensure the review of the OIA looks at how adequate the existing tests are before sales of New Zealand assets can go ahead.
“The ‘benefits to New Zealand’ test is used to approve or decline sales and this does not currently include water extraction – it should be mandatory for decision makers to consider this as a negative factor.
“Water is one of our most precious resources. Our lives and our environment depend on it.
“The National Government was happy to allow New Zealand land to be sold to overseas owners, and even actively promoted the sale of our water to overseas interests. This Government is looking at what needs to change to protect our resources for future generations and to ensure our Māori cultural values are upheld.
“We need to ensure that we are not giving away this resource to international corporations to reap profits from at the expense of New Zealand’s best interests”.