Green Party wants review of selling water access to overseas buyers

The Green Party wants the Government to look into stronger tests for selling land involving water takes to overseas buyers.

Co-leader Marama Davidson has announced the Government will consider whether to allow the "benefits to New Zealand" criteria for sales to include water extraction, in amendments to the Overseas Investment Act.

"I'm stoked to announce today that the review of the Overseas Investment Act will now look at putting the protection of water at the heart of decision-making," Ms Davidson said in her speech to party members at the Green Party annual conference on Saturday.

"Changing the law and making water extraction one of the issues to be considered when overseas corporates apply to buy rural land would ensure that this and future governments recognise that water is ours, and that it's a vital natural asset."

Ms Davidson said the Greens have secured a commitment that the review of the Overseas Investment Act will consider whether water extraction should be a factor when weighing up whether a sale should be approved.

She pointed out the recent approval of sale of land to Cresswell NZ, which is owned by Nongfu Spring, one of China's bottled water suppliers.

Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage and Associate Finance Minister David Clark could only look at the benefits such as jobs and environmental issues rather than water extraction, which is covered under the Resource Management Act.

"We will review the benefits test in section 17 of the Act and ensure consideration of water extraction issues is front and centre," said Ms Davidson.