“Today Parliament has the opportunity to support my member’s bill to allow reduced barriers to investment from overseas and improve the quality of life enjoyed by all New Zealanders,” says ACT’s Associate Finance spokesperson Damien Smith.

“The other political parties need to ask themselves, can New Zealand really afford to stop accepting money from overseas investors in friendly OECD countries right now?

“New Zealand has highly restrictive laws that put up needless barriers to foreign direct investment (FDI) with the overall impact of reducing investment and making us poorer. According to the OECD, it’s easier to invest in Myanmar, China and Saudi Arabia than New Zealand.

“Australia receives 80 per cent more foreign investment per person, this is one reason why their median wage is 42 per cent higher than New Zealand’s.

“Even among small nations we attract less investment. Per capita in 2019 we attracted $860 of Foreign Direct Investment. Israel attracted more than twice that at $1,917. Estonia shows what is possible with good policy, attracting nearly three times as much with $2,400.

“My bill makes it easier for investors from friendly OECD countries to come to New Zealand and invest while fostering stronger trading links.

“The exemption would not apply when there was a national security interest at stake, or to residential land.

“Productivity is the sole driver of growing prosperity, which is always reflected in rising real incomes. Sadly New Zealand is slipping in this area, and Kiwis continue to get poorer.

“Reducing barriers to investment is beneficial to all New Zealanders. If we want to have nice things we need the capital to pay for them. MPs today have the choice to say whether they want New Zealand to be a modern and prosperous society, or a declining hermit kingdom afraid of the outside world.”

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Damien Smith