New changes to the Overseas Investment Act (OIA) will be enforced later in the year restricting non-resident foreign buyers from purchasing existing homes in New Zealand in an effort to make housing cheaper for New Zealanders.  These changes mean that all land considered “residential” or “lifestyle” will be deemed “sensitive land” and will be more difficult for overseas investors to purchase. The anticipation of these changes has raised some concerns and confusion for those hoping to purchase property in New Zealand.

This article aims to address some of these concerns, and clarify the confusion.


What are these upcoming changes?


The government is “tightening” the overseas investment regime by broadening the scope of “sensitive land” to include residential land, which will primarily be available only to New Zealand and Australian Citizens (and permanent residents who meet the criteria – more on this below). This will make it more difficult for overseas investors to purchase property in New Zealand as they will be subject to consent from the Overseas Investment Office (OIO). The consent/screening will require that the investors are committed to staying in New Zealand. If they obtain consent and subsequently breach the regime, the investors may be required to take certain actions such as selling their property within 12 months of the “trigger event”. The definition of a trigger event will be provided in a regulation in the act.

Along with this major change, stricter rules are likely to apply to the purchase of farm land or forestry by overseas investors.

NB: “Sensitive land” is land that cannot be purchased by overseas investors unless they obtain consent from the Overseas Investment Office.

Criteria for permanent residents:


A permanent resident may be classed with New Zealand and Australian citizens and therefore not need to obtain consent from the OIO where they have been residing in New Zealand for at least 12 months and have been present in New Zealand for at least 183 days. If they don’t meet these requirements, then they will be placed in the same class as residents for the purposes of purchase of sensitive land and will be subject to the same consent/screening criteria (showing that they are committed to residing in New Zealand).



Frank and Jill are planning to move to New Zealand from overseas and want to get in the property market over here. They are concerned that these upcoming changes to overseas investment in New Zealand will prevent them from doing so, so they want to buy property in New Zealand before it is too late. Frank and Jill are wondering whether it would be best for them to quickly buy an average house to ensure that they are in the property market before these new changes come into force.


Should Frank and Jill quickly buy property in order to get in the market?

At this stage, it is unclear when these changes will actually come into force. This poses a difficulty in determining when will be too late to purchase property before the new requirements are imposed. It is certainly a possibility that Frank and Jill could buy an average house in the meantime to simply get on the property market, and it is advisable that they do purchase property before the changes do come into force if they wish to avoid the screening criteria. If they enter into a sale and purchase agreement now, they will not be subject to the criteria when the changes do kick in.

That being said, purchasing an average property as a way of getting in the market would not give Frank and Jill a free pass to then on-sell and buy a new house later down the track. They would still be subject to the screening tests once they are enforced – that is, until they either meet the permanent resident requirements noted above, or until they become a New Zealand citizen.


Other options available to Frank and Jill:

Another option is that Frank and Jill rent a house until they have satisfied the permanent resident criteria, and then purchase a house at that stage. They will need to ensure that they have met the 12 month/183 days residing in New Zealand requirements in order to qualify by this means.

It is important to note that these changes do not by any means mean that Frank and Jill will not be able to purchase property in New Zealand; it simply means that they must get consent in order to purchase unless they meet the residency requirements.

What about agricultural/farm land and forestry?


As mentioned above, stricter requirements are also likely to apply to the purchase of farm land and forestry. If an overseas person is seeking to invest in farm land, questions in relation to jobs, new technology, increased exports, increased processing of primary and oversight and participation by New Zealanders.  An overseas person investing in forestry land may be subject to certain conditions such as entering into agreements with locals.

For a more general article on the changes to OIO rules, see our article here.


If you have any further questions regarding these upcoming changes, please feel free to get in touch with us. We have teams in our Riccarton, Hokitika and Rolleston branches who would be happy to help you.



Steven Moe

When looking to purchase a house, you may note that some properties are marketed as “cross leases”.  This article seeks to clarify what cross leases are, and what you need to look out for should you purchase one.

Cross leases were originally created as a convenient and cheaper alternative to a fee simple subdivision. As they are now included under the definition of subdivisions, cross leases are becoming a less desirable form of ownership. It is important to understand exactly how they operate, as they involve greater obligations than a fee simple title.



Fee Simple vs. Cross Lease


A “fee simple” title grants you the most freedom and access. It bestows the full, permanent and absolute occupancy (tenure) in the land and will last indefinitely (subject to the rights of the Crown in some instances).

A cross lease property still involves an underlying fee simple title; however each cross lease owner owns only a share in the overall property. In addition, each owner leases individual flats from all the fee simple owners. The lease term will typically be limited to 999 years. The Certificate of Title will include a Flat Plan, which highlights the area of each flat, the common areas (such as a shared driveway) and restricted areas that each owner has private use of, such as a garden.



Alex, Bradley and Charlotte own three cross-leased properties: Flat A, Flat B and Flat C, on 1 Example Street. As a group, they collectively own the land, with no exclusive ownership of any specific part of the land. Instead, they each hold a one-third “undivided” share in the fee simple estate.

As a group, Alex, Bradley and Charlotte lease the flats to themselves individually. So Flat A is leased to Alex, Flat B to Bradley and Flat C to Charlotte. Their leases (which are registered on the title), provide exclusive use and enjoyment of the flats for each owner.

Should Alex wish to sell Flat A, he will be selling his 1/3 interest in the underlying fee simple title and his interest in the Flat A lease.

Tips on things to look out for:


  • Cross lease covenants: These are contained in the lease and each flat owner must comply with them. Examples of covenants include:
    • Not altering or improving the leased structures without written consent from all other flat owners;
    • Having a comprehensive insurance policy in place; and
    • Allowing the inspection of each other’s flats to ensure compliance with the covenants.

In our experience, many cross lease owners simply ignore their obligations, which can cause issues down the track, most commonly when you come to sell the property.

  • A title condition in the Agreement for Sale and Purchase: This allows your lawyer to look over the title and related documents to ensure they are accurate and check for any issues.
  • How will the common areas be maintained? Before buying the property, it is important you are clear on expectations in relation to “shared” areas. How different insurance policies might respond to these areas, such as driveways, is also relevant.
  • Explore the relationship with the neighbours: As you will need their consent for alterations, it will be important to maintain a positive relationship with the other cross lease owners. Though be aware that the vendors may not want to disclose anything adverse given their desire to sell, hence you may need to carry out your own enquiries where possible.
  • Be careful to check that the actual property matches the Flat Plan: If any physical improvements or alterations have not been included on the flat plan, the title will, strictly speaking, be defective. This could affect whether you have leasehold title to the common or restricted areas, or to certain improvements. To remedy this, you will need to obtain the consent from the other owners, and have the flat plans amended. This can be time consuming and costly, so ideally you would require the vendor to sort this before you purchase the property. Indeed, in some instances the costs involved may mean it is prudent to explore converting the cross lease ownership to a fee simple one – the greater “freedom” of the latter might even result in the property increasing in value, which could offset any costs.

Cross leases can be complicated. If you are considering purchasing a cross lease property, it is essential that you obtain legal advice. Likewise, if you are thinking of selling your cross lease, you should also discuss your options with your lawyer before you take the property to market.


This article is not a substitute for legal advice and you should talk to a lawyer about your specific situation. Please contact Tim Rankin at Parry Field Lawyers (348-8480)

New legislation is proposed restricting non-resident foreign buyers from purchasing existing homes in New Zealand. Set to be enacted next year, the changes will mean that residential land will come under the category of “sensitive land” in the Overseas Investment Act (OIA). Any existing transactions and applications made before commencement are not affected.


Permanent residents and Australians will need to have resided in New Zealand for at least 183 days of the past year to be able to purchase property without scrutiny from the Overseas Investment Office (OIO). Those on temporary or student visas will be unable to purchase a house at all, but other-resident class visas will be screened.

These changes are significant as they represent quite a move in direction from the previous government.  For those who are overseas and looking to buy a house in New Zealand or considering a move to New Zealand it may impact on their decision.  However, some have pointed to statistics showing that there are not as many foreign buyers as people think so it will be interesting to see what impact it actually has on the housing market.


What are the exceptions to the general rule?

There are three exceptions. The first allows anyone to buy land and build a residential home on it, so long as they sell it on to add to the housing supply. Those planning to knock down an existing house to build several more will also come under this exception.

Secondly, overseas persons may buy sensitive land if they will convert the land to another use and are able to demonstrate this will have wider benefits to the country.

The third exception allows people buy a home if they intend to live in New Zealand. Housing Minister Phil Twyford has said:

“We do not want to deter people who have the genuine intent to make New Zealand their home and contribute to the country. We want to encourage foreign investment in the building of homes.”


What is residential land and how is it defined?

In the Explanatory Note, residential land consists of the following:

  • Apartments
  • Dwelling houses
  • Land which is likely to be developed into dwelling house sites
  • Where the dwelling house is the predominant use and there is an additional unit of use attached to, or associated with, the dwelling house which can be used to produce income


What about lifestyle land – is it covered?

Lifestyle land also comes under this category. It is defined in the Rating Valuations Rules 2008 as –

“Lifestyle land, generally in a rural area, where the predominant use is for a residence and, if vacant, there is a right to build a dwelling. The land can be of variable size but must be larger than an ordinary residential allotment. The principal use of the land is non-economic in the traditional farming sense, and the value exceeds the value of comparable farmland.”

This category includes:

  • Bare or substantially unimproved land, which is likely to be subdivided into smaller lifestyle lots:
  • Improved to the extent that there is some residential accommodation sited on the land:
  • Vacant or substantially unimproved land without immediate subdivision potential.


Negotiations are currently under way with Singapore to make sure the change doesn’t breach the current free trade agreement with them. However Minister Twyford has said that if issues can’t be resolved, then Singaporeans may be granted an exemption, similar to the one for Australia.


This article is not a substitute for legal advice and you should talk to a lawyer about your specific situation. We have experience with OIO applications in New Zealand and have assisted our clients from overseas through the process., please contact Steven Moe at Parry Field Lawyers (348-8480)

The new Government in New Zealand has announced changes to the foreign investment system.  This will restrict non-resident foreigners from purchasing houses in New Zealand by changing the definition of “sensitive” to include such housing.  At present other land is defined as sensitive under the Overseas Investment Act (OIA).  That includes for example land that is bordering reserves and parks or on the foreshore of lakes or rivers or which is farming land (among others).  For an overview on the overseas investment process click here and for information about key issues when immigrating to New Zealand click here.

New Zealand house prices have been increasing in the last few years and the intention behind the rule changes is to prevent foreign speculation on house prices.  Ultimately, the Government is hoping to stop their growth which has been resulting in New Zealanders not being able to afford to purchase a home, particularly in Auckland where the average house price is very high.

David Parker the new Trade Minister said the following in a recent interview: “We’ve got to fix land. We think it’s absolutely abhorrent that New Zealand government would lose the right to control who buys homes in New Zealand from overseas. And we’re working up mechanisms on that.”

While the purpose is clear the exact mechanics and timing is not.  Some have raised concerns that such a ban could be difficult in the context of different free trade agreements in place or due to be signed like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).  However, the intention is certainly clear and it is highly likely that there will be change soon.

We will provide updates when the precise changes are known but wanted to get this briefing note out in the meantime.  We have acted for foreign buyers who are looking to purchase assets in New Zealand and can help you if you have any questions about the process.

We have also prepared a detailed guide called “Doing Business in New Zealand” which has an overview about the New Zealand business environment.  We are happy to email that out to those who would find it of help.


This article is not a substitute for legal advice and you should talk to a lawyer about your specific situation. Should you need any assistance or would like to request a copy of the “Doing Business in New Zealand” guide, please contact Kris Morrison at Parry Field Lawyers (348-8480)

Did you know you could get up to $20,000 towards your house purchase in Selwyn?

Housing New Zealand offer a Homestart Grant to people who meet their criteria.  If you are wanting to buy a new build in Rolleston, Prebbleton, Darfield, Lincoln or elsewhere in the Selwyn area then this Grant could help get you there.

Amy Adams MP in her June 2017 Amy in Action update stated she was pleased “to learn that 575 KiwiSaver HomeStart grants have been issued over the past two years to help people buy their first homes in Selwyn.”

Amy noted “in the past year, the scheme has helped 412 people in Selwyn with grants worth a total of $3.1 million. 163 first home buyers benefited in the first year of the scheme through $1.2 million in grants.”

There are certain criteria you must meet which is all set out at the Housing New Zealand Website. Please click here for more details.

There are a lot of new homes for sale in Rolleston and the rest of the Selwyn area that fit the criteria so it is a great opportunity to get on the property ladder. If you are looking at buying a house in Rolleston, Lincoln, Prebbleton or the greater Selwyn area get in touch with us so we can discuss whether you might be eligible for this grant.

Our office in Rolleston is located at 68 Rolleston Drive.  Send us an email at or to set up a time to meet.

Paul Owens and Steven Moe outside the Rolleston office at 68 Rolleston Drive


1. 先和您的律師溝通 – 越早和我們商議買賣流程,房產狀況和買賣合約(尤其是包含在合約裡的條款)對您越好。 我們在這方面有經驗 – 讓我們成為您的嚮導!

2. 確保這是適合您的房子 – 如果您不確定這房子是否適合您,請不要簽署出價協定,因為一旦簽署了而您又想改變主意的話就變得困難多了!

3. 給您自己充足的時間 – 這可能是您最大宗的購買所以請不要焦急! 這個過程可以有壓力,而緊迫的時間表則會讓事情變得更糟。試著給自己足夠的時間去徹底調查房產,儘量不要加快這個過程。

4. 注意地震損毀問題 – 如果您購買的房子在基督城或坎特伯雷地區,您需要考慮地震對房子造成了什麼損壞。詳細詢問EQC和私人保險公司的索賠,確認索賠是否已經解決,或是如何解決。

5. 房子是否有保險?提前跟您的保險公司洽談,因為您需要確認可以為房子買到令人滿意的保險。檢查保險政策是否有任何不承保的事項 – 不承保事項可能為您和您的貸款人製造為題。

6. 不要忽視土地報告和產權 – 土地報告和產權文件提供關於房子的有用資訊,而且強調出值得注意的問題。嘗試審查這些文件以確保您不會接手這些問題。

7. 願意花錢在專業的報告上 – 不要害怕聘請合格的專業人士進行物業檢查(例如:建築報告,工程師報告,電氣檢查和物業估值)。這些報告是您盡職調查的一個重要環節。現在花一些錢可以為將來節省很多錢!

8. 我是否有資金來完成購買?如果您是貸款來完成購買,請儘早聯繫您的貸款人或抵押貸款經紀人。通常銀行在滿足審批條件後才會批出貸款。 您需要準備完成銀行的這些條件。記得–請儘早讓我們知道如果您合資格從KiwiSaver撤回資金或可以得到紐西蘭房屋署的首次置業頭期款補貼。

9. 想想您將來的計畫,您購買財產的目的是什麼?這將是您的家庭住房,一個出租的物業,您將會在那裡經營生意,還是您打算在將來進一步開發?考慮以及與我們討論您未來的計畫是很重要的。可能也需要來自其他專家建議,如稅務專家,城市規劃師,測量師。

10. 請記住房子交割前的檢查 – 您的合約將幾乎都允許您擁有進行交割前檢查的權利。這是一個確保房子處於和您簽合約時類似的狀況的很好的機會,避免當您搬進來的時候發現不必要的驚喜!

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