From Parliament yesterday
Overseas Investment Commission—Strategic Infrastructure
11. PETER BROWN (Deputy Leader—NZ First) to the Minister of Finance: Is he satisfied that the Overseas Investment Commission considers and protects New Zealand’s national interest when deciding on the fate of sales of strategic infrastructure, such as the port of Lyttelton?
Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Minister for Economic Development), on behalf of the Minister of Finance: Yes, under new overseas investment legislation that came into effect last year, criteria to assess a benefit to New Zealand was made more comprehensive to ensure that the value of sensitive New Zealand assets are recognised and enhanced by an overseas owner.
Peter Brown: Is the Minister aware that all our ports have had their security beefed up, principally at the behest of the Americans, and is he also aware that in the USA, I think six ports are up for sale, and the Americans are endeavouring to ban them, principally for security reasons, and if he is aware of that does he not think he should take a closer look at the sale of the port of Lyttelton?
Hon TREVOR MALLARD: There are no specific criteria in the Act relating to national security. However, the general law, for example biosecurity and customs legislation, applies to the port regardless of the nationality of the owner. If the member has specific concerns about this issue he could take it up with the Minister of Finance. If he has matters that go to international affairs he might like to talk to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.