OIO to employ more staff

  • 04/05/2016
OIO to employ more staff

The Overseas Investment Office is going to get more staff, paid for by a big increase in the fees it charges foreign investors when they apply to buy land.

The office is in the dogbox over the blunder it made when it approved the sale of a Taranaki station to two brothers who had criminal convictions in Argentina.

It has admitted the mistake and apologised to the Government.

Despite that, Prime Minister John Key told reporters today he still had confidence in the office.

"But I think changes are needed, and one of the things the Government is going to allow is a substantial fee increase," he said.

"In return for that they will beef up their personnel by about 25 percent."

Mr Key says the Government wants the office to process applications more quickly and have the capacity to follow up on the approvals it grants.

Details of the fee increase will be announced in a few days.

"The office needs to have a better way of making sure that those who make undertakings, like they'll put in a walkway or whatever, actually fulfil those commitments."

Labour MP David Cunliffe last week revealed the identities of the brothers who were allowed to buy the 1320ha Onetai Station.

They were Rafael and Federico Grozovsky, and they bought the station for $6 million in 2014.

Mr Cunliffe also revealed that in 2012 they were convicted because their Argentinian tannery leaked chemicals into a river.

Mr Cunliffe says he's working on other cases he's discovered where he believes approvals were wrongly granted.