A South Island rural land purchase by buyers including Australians incurred a $20,000 fine because no consent was sought from the Crown agency to approve it.
The Overseas Investment Office said last week the buyer was nearly half-owned by Australian interests.
Yet those involved had not sought permission which is required under the Overseas Investment Act.
The $1.7m purchase of 23ha of 469 Main Rd, Totara near Oamaru from New Zealand's Quennith Farms is now approved, but the maximum fine was imposed.
Retrospective consent was granted for Organic Solutions to buy the land near Oamaru. The buyer is 46 per cent owned by Australians and 53 per cent by New Zealand interests.
That is the second time in the latest month the OIO has fined parties for such breaches.
Last week, the Herald reported on a Shanghai billionaire's company incurring the same penalty over control of assets valued at $56.4m, being the Carrington Estate in Northland.
On the weekend, the Herald reported on an Auckland winemaker who launched legal action against her former business partner and best friend in a costly court battle over who has legal title to a multimillion-dollar boutique vineyard.
Chinese nationals Jieyu Lu and her husband Hongzhao Huang purchased the luxury Matakana Estate vineyard, winery and lodge for more than $7m.
They were later fined $20,000 by the overseas investment watchdog for failing to get consent.
They claim their former joint venture partner Chris Chen advised them to put his name on the vineyard's ownership documents to skirt OIO restrictions but is now refusing to relinquish the title.
The OIO said the South Island law breach was not intentional.
"After settlement, the applicant was advised of the requirement to obtain OIO consent. The applicant then notified the OIO that it had breached the act.
"We consider that given the breach was inadvertent, voluntarily self-reported and resulted from substandard legal advice, it was appropriate the applicant applied for retrospective consent to acquire the land," the OIO said in a decision out last week.
Companies Office records show Lanson International of Wamberal in New South Wales owns 46 per cent, James Porteous of Cromwell has 48 per cent and Nigel Clark of Oamaru has 5 per cent.
Organic Solutions runs an organic farm on the land, producing vegetable crops including brassicas, lettuces, cabbages, potatoes, and yams.
It needs the land for organic vegetables for its takeaway and online organic produce businesses.
In 2019, Organic Solutions announced it had bought Brydone Growers of Oamaru.
"Brydone Growers, one of the oldest and largest organic growers in the South Island, is the region's only commercial organic grower of many brassicas and leafy crops in addition to their organic potato crops famous throughout New Zealand," the company said at the time.
James Porteous of Organic Solutions said: "The demand for organics is outstripping supply. Securing a stable source of organic vegetables for our Thai food operations is a cornerstone of our growth strategies. Queenstown and now Timaru are hungry for organic Thai food, and they grow hungrier by the day."