New Zealand sees more challenging environment for foreign direct investment in FY23

New Zealand is entering a period that will require substantial and bold investments across a range of sectors, in particular infrastructure, to build more renewable energy sources in the pursuit of net zero targets, and to develop the technology required to support this.

Explore our interactive dashboard below to delve into where investment is coming from, what sectors and regions in New Zealand are attracting it, and how this has changed over time.

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Important Note: Given that many decisions in the last three years are listed as confidential, caution needs to be exercised when quoting consideration numbers for recent periods.  These are likely to increase as the confidentiality settings for decisions are removed.

Key observations

  • The small size of New Zealand means that the mix of countries investing changes somewhat each year, but we continue to attract investment from our primary trading partners.

  • The US and Australia continue to be the main sources of gross foreign direct investment, when measured over the long run. Investment out of China is in retreat, when measured on the basis of application numbers since 2021.

  • Financials, telecommunications, agribusiness, energy and utilities and real estate account for nearly two thirds of gross investment over the last decade.

  • Forestry features prominently as the one of the few agribusiness sectors receiving investment, reflecting policy settings put in place by the prior Government when it introduced the ‘special forestry test’. Other agribusiness sectors have seen lower levels of investment in recent years.

  • The number of approved applications for 2023 is substantially down on prior years even when presented on an annualised basis, suggestion that inbound M&A is still in recovery mode.

  • The Overseas Investment Act will be amended to limit ministerial decision making to national security concerns, with the aim of enabling more timely decisions. This reflects a change from the current ‘national interest test’. These changes may open up investment categories which have seen lower levels of investment in recent years, including certain categories of agriculture and infrastructure.