Overseas investors have been forced to pay a $1.38 million penalty after using New Zealand relatives to purchase forestry blocks.
The decision was made at the High Court in Auckland this week – with the investors found to be in breach of the Overseas Investment Act.
Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) says the penalty comes after a family purchased five forestry blocks totalling 3,600 hectares for $12.8 million.
“The land at Awakino, Ngāruawāhia, Awaroa, Paranui and Manganui was acquired under the names of several companies,” LINZ says in a statement.
“The family used relatives based in New Zealand to invest on their behalf. The investors knew permission was required to buy the forestry blocks but did not seek Overseas Investment Office approval.
“While the family’s lawyer provided poor legal advice, the Court found that the investors’ breaches were negligent.”