Foreigners' appetite for New Zealand land rose 442 per cent in the first 10 months of this year compared to the same time last year, official data shows.
Overseas Investment Office (OIO) revealed that from January to October last year, foreign entities got consent for deals involving 65,838 hectares gross of New Zealand land area. But in the same time this year, that rose to 357,318ha.
The biggest freehold land deal approved this year involved 4973ha of Marlborough forestry property to be purchased, followed by a 3841ha deal for Wairarapa land, then 3551ha of land around Lake Tekapo.
The Marlborough deal was an application from Australia's Blenheim Estate to buy land for commercial forestry plantations.
"The applicant intends to enter into a long-term wood supply agreement with a local mill for a minimum of 10 years, which will provide security of supply and enable the mill to invest in its growth and operation. The applicant will also consult with the Department of Conservation and the Walking Access Commission and implement any reasonable measures they recommend," the OIO said in approving Blenheim's application on October 4.
Foreigners also increased their spending on New Zealand assets by $1billion this year compared to last year, granted approval to buy assets valued at $6.2b last year but $7.2b this year. The office granted consent for 103 applications from January to October last year and 105 to October.
Most applications are approved.
Only one was declined last year to October and just two in the same period of this year, the data showed.
The Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa opposes deals by foreigners and says "the independence of most countries is being eroded away. This erosion has taken place because most of the world's economy is now owned and controlled by a relatively small number of huge trans-national corporations".