A members bill put forward by Labour's Phil Goff which would tighten up rules for foreigners buying rural land will be debated in Parliament after it was drawn from the ballot today.

The bill which is line with long standing Labour policy, would amend the Overseas Investment Act by limiting the discretion the responsible minister has to approve applications to buy rural land.

Labour believed "New Zealanders' widespread concerns about farm sales to foreign buyers are valid", Mr Goff said in the bill's explanatory note.

The bill would significantly narrow the type of acceptable investment in blocks of rural land over 5ha in two ways.


It would require that investment "to deliver benefits that would be over and above what a New Zealand investor would produce".

"Secondly, it ensures that substantial job creation and increases in exports are the most important factors to be considered."

Mr Goff said the his bill represented a significant toughening up of the rules around approving the purchase of rural land over and above addtional "economic interest" criteria introduced by Finance Minister Bill English two years ago.

Mr Goff's bill will get its first reading early next year.