Key Points:

The amount of money being invested in New Zealand by foreign entities has almost halved.

Deals involving overseas parties and assets valued at $19.1 billion were approved in 2007 but that fell 47 per cent to just $10.2 billion last year.

The Overseas Investment Office has just released the list of applications it processed in December.

It handled nine deals that month involving $580 million worth of New Zealand assets.

Annelies McClure, OIO manager, said the difference between last year and 2007 could be attributed to three unusually big deals in 2007.

These were YPG Finance buying Yellow Pages Group for $2.2 billion, a confidential consent on a $1.2 billion deal and VA Australia Finance buying Veda Advantage for $1 billion.

"Also, 16 additional consents were granted in the 2007 calendar year,
Compared with the 2008 calendar year and this would also account for part of the decrease in the gross value of considerati on," McClure said.

While the gross value of considerati on was down, the net investment dollars which refers to the total dollar value invested in New Zealand has been less affected, she said.

The net investment dollars for consents granted during the 2008 calendar year was $2.97 billion compared with $4.63 billion for the 2007 calendar year.

Bill Rosenberg, a spokesman for the Campaign Against Foreign Control of
Aotearoa, said 2007 was a big year for major deals, including Brookfield Asset Management of Canada buying Multiplex for A$4.2 billion and the Independent Liquor purchase by a PEP/ CCMP led consortium for $1.25 billion.

The OIO said the biggest deal approved in December where a price was
not suppressed was OneSteel's $354 million application on its now-
cancelled takeover of Steel & Tube.

Approval was granted but in October Australia's second-largest steelmaker pulled out of that takeover, citing market volatility.

In a rare move, the office declined a deal. Hong Kong's Cheung Kong
Infrastructure Holdings (CKI) and Ironsands Investments wanted
clearance on a $250 million deal to buy 100 per cent of New Zealand Steel Mining from Australia's BlueScope Steel.

The office approves most deals but in a decision made public in
December, it said CKI did not meet the Overseas Investment Act criteria
of substantial and identifiable benefit which was relevant to the
acquisition of business assets which included sensitive land.

CKI had wanted to expand the mining business but its application
noted the reduced demand for the product and the deteriorating global
economic conditions.

CKI decided expansion plans were no longer viable.