Land Sales – some facts, not fiction
The Overseas Investment Office publishes some useful statistics. The following table reflects these.
|Sales of freehold land – by calendar year|
|Source: Overseas Investment Office|
As you can see the total of freehold land (Gross) sold in the 6 years covered by the table was some 921,391 hectares. This is a large area, but Adam suggests we need to look at this carefully.
This is the gross area sold. The OIO defines gross as follows:-
“Gross hectares” represents the total land area proposed to be acquired under consents granted during the relevant period. The figure will not show the seller’s New Zealand ownership share (if any) (unlike the “net hectares” figure) and will include land that is proposed to be acquired by New Zealand interests as well as overseas interests (for example, under a New Zealand/Australian joint venture).
Consequently it is suggested that this is not in fact reflective of the change in ownership in the periods under review as it includes land where there is already a foreign interest.
Adam suggests that we should focus more attention on the net change, which the OIO defines as:-
“Net hectares” represents the total land area proposed to be transferred into foreign ownership under consents granted during the relevant period. For example, if a New Zealander sells 10 hectares to someone from overseas, the whole 10 hectares is shown. However, if the seller was a company that was 50% New Zealand owned and 50% foreign owned then only five hectares would show in that column. Five hectares represents the “net” change in foreign ownership of New Zealand land.
On this basis the amount of land sold to foreigners in the 6 years was in fact some 335, 957 hectares.
These numbers are different from those given in the SST as Adam has not included in the table the land leased to foreign interests, he has only used the numbers for sales of freehold land.
In 2011 one of the major sales was that by Ngai Tahu in August of some 18,000 hectare plus and in February 2011 a sale of some 17,000 hectare by Carter Holt Harvey to an overseas investment group.
The 2006 year was the year of the largest net disposals.