New national interest test to be applied to overseas investments

Ryan Bridge 19/11/2019

The Government has announced further reform of overseas investment rules to protect New Zealand's "core national interests".

A national interest test will be added to the sale of assets such as ports, airports, electricity networks and other critical infrastructure.

The test means the Government can consider the risk of the transactions to New Zealand's national interest when deciding whether or not to grant consent. Associate Minister of Finance David Parker joins Ryan Bridge on Magic Talk drive to explain.

Ryan begins the interview asking  for more details on what the test is, Parker responds, “it provides general discretion for the Government to say that some big assets shouldn’t pass into overseas ownership”.

We think that there should be a national interest test that allows the government to step in if and when needed.

Ryan then asks how can the Government measure national interest which Parker explains would fall under the authority of the Minister for Finance.

Parker clarifies that the new act would not be mandatory for the Government o turn down forieng investors in critical infrastructure it acts merely as an allowance should the Minister feel it’s necessary. 

You can watch the full interview above.