A Swiss company has been denied the chance to buy an Otago sheep farm and convert it to forestry. This is one of the first decisions to be made under the benefit test for the conversion of farm land to forestry after a change in the Overseas Investment Act last year. The OIO declined the consent for Swiss company Corisol New Zealand to convert the sheep farm on rolling hill country in Otago to a 473ha production pine forest by the end of next year. Corisol claimed the investment would benefit New Zealand by assisting in meeting its nationally determined contribution to climate change and advancing export receipts, biodiversity and public access. The consent was declined by Land Information Minister Damien O’Connor and Finance Associate Minister Barbara Edmonds, who were not satisfied the likely benefit was proportionate to the sensitivity of the land and the nature of the overseas investment. The location of the Otago farm was redacted but it was 46km from Pan Pac Pacific in Milton and 51km from both Fonterra Stirling in Kaitangata and Odlins wood processing in Mosgiel.
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