The accounting company, KPMG, looked at foreign investment in New Zealand in the years 2013 and 2014. Their report shows that Canada bought more property in New Zealand than any other country. 22% of all foreign investment is by Canadian companies, especially the Canadian pension fund. Their main investment is in the large Kaingaroa forest in the centre of the North Island.
China is second with 14% of the total. China has put most of the money into dairy farms and milk processing factories. China also bought Waste Management for $1.9 billion and an island in the Manukau harbour to build a luxury resort.
USA is the third biggest foreign investor at 13%, with money mostly in farm land and forestry. Next is Australia at 11%. These four countries make up 60% of all foreign investment in New Zealand. However, the KPMG report did not include residential property.
All big foreign investments have to be approved by the Overseas Investment Office and must show some benefit to New Zealand.
New Zealanders are uncomfortable about our property being owned by overseas companies. We worry about losing ownership of our land, especially for future generations. Will our children and grandchildren be able to buy land here in the future? Can we control what overseas companies are doing with our land? Do we trust people from countries which have corruption and different values from us? What benefit is there for our country? On the other hand, foreign investors bring money to develop a company. They can also provide new export markets.
We have to remember, too, that New Zealanders also invest in properties in other countries.
• invest (v), investment (n), investor (personal noun) – buying something which will bring a profit
• residential property – houses, apartments
• approve (verb) – agree it can happen
Do you think the benefits of foreign investment outweigh the negative things? (outweigh – are more important than)