There needs to be an urgent review of the way the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) operates, Green Party Co-Leader Dr Russel Norman said today.
Figures released under the Official Information Act show that during the last term of the National Government the Overseas Investment Office has approved virtually all applications by foreign investors to buy "sensitive" land.
"The vetting process currently used by the OIO to approve or decline foreign offers to buy New Zealand land needs to be put under scrutiny," said Dr Norman.
"In the fallout of the recent High Court decision involving the Crafar farms it became evident the OIO doesn't consider the disadvantages of selling our land to foreign investors.
"OIO manager Anneliese McClure's admission to the media that this was the case was astounding.
"The fact the OIO doesn't take into account the detrimental effects of accepting bids from overseas buyers, and the impact this could have on New Zealand's current account deficit, and debt position should be a major concern to the Government.
"The process for monitoring conditions that foreign investors must meet once a purchase has been approved is also worrying," said Dr Norman.
"Once a sale goes through the OIO only has four staff to monitor whether the foreign investor is meeting any of the conditions set down by law.
"The Minister of Land Information Maurice Williamson should tell the public why his Government considered delegating more powers to the OIO was a good idea," said Dr Norman.
"He should also release the figures of how many decisions he has personally signed off regarding selling New Zealand land into foreign ownership."