Sharechat Logo

Auditor-General to examine OIO after finance committee request

Thursday 30th June 2016

Text too small?

The Auditor-General is to examine how the Overseas Investment Office collects and manages information following a request from the parliament's finance and expenditure committee. 

In her notes accompanying the plan, Controller and Auditor-General Lyn Provost the study would take precedence over work on monitoring tertiary education organisations, which has been deferred for a year. 

The study will examine how well the OIO conducts the approvals process, including the principles it applies to assessing applications and the advice it gives about those assessments, the consistency and quality of its decisions, and the monitoring once consent has been granted. 

The OIO has come under heavy fire in recent months over the length of time it takes to make decisions and the quality of the information it provides. In April it emerged that the Argentinian owners of a 1,317-hectare farm in Taranaki had passed the good character test when the sale was approved in 2014, despite having a conviction in their native country for polluting a river. Ministers said they had not received that information when they signed off the deal.  

An independent review by Wellington QC Peter McKenzie into the good character test found there were no major flaws in the system, leading the Labour Party to describe his conclusions as a "whitewash". 

Earlier this month it emerged that the long-serving manager of the Overseas Investment Office, Annliese McClure, had been sidelined by the appointment of a "new short-term deputy chief executive". Lesley Haines was appointed by the out-going chief executive of Land Information New Zealand, Peter Mersi. 

A new fee structure for the OIO starts on July 4. Depending on the application, fees will rise by between 8.7 percent and 166 percent, allowing the office to take on more staff. 

Land Information Minister Louise Upston said this would build on operational improvements already taking place: "The higher fees will mean the OIO can hire up to 30 percent more staff, to improve services and reduce administrative delays". 

A series of measures to provide targeted exemptions from the investment screening regime will also be in place by the end of the year.

BusinessDesk.co.nz



  General Finance Advertising    

Comments from our readers

No comments yet

Add your comment:
Your name:
Your email:
Not displayed to the public
Comment:
Comments to Sharechat go through an approval process. Comments which are defamatory, abusive or in some way deemed inappropriate will not be approved. It is allowable to use some form of non-de-plume for your name, however we recommend real email addresses are used. Comments from free email addresses such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc may not be approved.

Related News:

NZ dollar becalmed on US-China trade/politics nexus
Govt to pull Infrastructure Commission into Auckland port imbroglio
Wind to displace diesel for Stewart Island power
Eroad's five year target: doubling unit sales
Blinky boxes and gobbledegook: tips for choosing a cyber-security vendor
Govt support for NZME/Stuff merger difficult, not impossible, says Jarden
NZ dollar stalled; US-China trade signals remain mixed
Ryman warns NZ, Australia to take population ageing more seriously
MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall as US-China trade concerns weigh on markets; Ryman slips
NZ dollar stalled; US-China trade deal may be postponed

IRG See IRG research reports