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First forestry approval under new overseas investment rules

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The first consent has been granted to buy land under the new streamlined forestry test, introduced when overseas investment rules changed in October 2018.

The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) in February approved Japanese-owned Oji Fibre Solutions (NZ) Ltd to buy Stoneleigh Forest in Te Kuiti from Australian company PF Olsen Tisa Pty Ltd. The forest is 188 hectares of mature pinus radiata.

Oji Fibre Solutions plans to harvest the existing crop and replant and maintain a similar replacement crop.

The company is a New Zealand-based pulp, paper and packaging business, part owned by Oji Holdings of Japan. Oji Fibre Solutions has three pulp and paper mills in New Zealand and 10 packaging manufacturing plants in New Zealand and Australia. It is buying Stoneleigh Forest mainly to secure timber for its Kinleith and Tasman plants.

The new special forestry test is the fastest and most straightforward pathway for overseas investors wanting to make conventional forestry investments.

Overseas investors can apply under the new special forestry test if the land is, or will be, used exclusively (or nearly exclusively) for forestry activities. Under this test, they need to plant a new crop of trees whenever they harvest trees on the land, and they must maintain or implement any existing arrangements on the land, such as public access, biodiversity protection, Forestry Stewardship Council certification, protecting local iwi access or areas of wāhi tapu.

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