Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

British interests take share in prison land

British interests have permission to buy South Auckland land where New Zealand's biggest new men's jail will be built.

In the latest Overseas Investment Office decisions, permission was granted for the property deal at 20 Hautu Drive, Manukau.

Because the assets were worth more than $100 million and the land is deemed sensitive, the British entities needed special New Zealand Government approval.

The planned prison will be owned and operated by SecureFuture Wiri, 40 per cent owned by Britain's Serco Group with InfraRed Infrastructure III Partnership, 30 per cent owned by Britain's John Laing Investments and 30 per cent owned by New Zealand's Accident Compensation Corporation.

Serco operates Mt Eden prison, and has been told to improve after failing nearly half of its targets in its first nine months in charge.

The 70 per cent British ownership tipped the Manukau deal over the threshold into Overseas Investment Act territory.

SecureFuture will design, build and run the new 960-bed prison but the price of the Wiri deal was kept secret.

The vendor was listed as Her Majesty The Queen via the Department of Corrections, which has entered into the public/private partnership.

The office listed job creation, new technology and business skills and added market competition as benefits of the deal.

Meanwhile, America's Pacific Industrial Services Bidco got consent for a $100 million-plus deal involving New Zealand assets, with Australia's Spotless Group as part of an international deal.

AMP NZ Office Bowen Campus, 19 per cent owned by United Arab Emirates interests, can spend $50.4 million buying 1.4ha at 34-38 Bowen St in Wellington from AMP-owned Capital Properties (Wellington).

NZX-listed retirement village specialist Metlifecare is paying $750,000 for half a hectare in Nelson's Richmond where it will expand its existing village. Metlifecare Oakwoods - 51 per cent in Australian hands - got clearance to buy Richmond Bowling Club land.

Craigmore, 60 per cent in foreign hands, can buy 511ha at Makiri Station and 8688ha at Wairoa, Pongaroa, Gisborne, East Cape and Taumarunui, so it can manage existing forestry operations and convert marginal farmland into plantations.

Switzerland's Monte Forestry can buy 1209ha at Mohau Station on the East Coast for $3.6 million from New Zealander Kenneth McLanachan.

- NZ Herald

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