Propertly Law Section Member Member NZ Trustees Association

About New Zealand

Rural Canterbury
New Zealand map

New Zealand (NZ) is about the same size as Colorado, USA although NZ’s population is only 4 million. There are 3 islands - North, South and Stewart Islands. Less than 1 million people live in the South Island. The largest city is Auckland in the North Island.

NZ is renowned for its pristine countryside. We have a deserved reputation for being clean and green. There is virtually no graffiti or litter along its highways. Her rivers and lakes are clear and pure. Many hold double figure trout and salmon. The snow capped mountains and native bush hold trophy animals including Red Stag, Elk, Wapiti, Tahr and Chamois.

Surrounding oceans are home to numerous fish including marlin (black, blue and striped), broadbill, yellow fin and big eye tuna, kingfish, snapper and blue cod. Lobster and abalone is harvested commercially.

NZ’s sound and growing economy is based on agriculture, aquaculture, tourism and innovation. The Government is both stable and responsible. Democracy and personal liberty are fiercely protected by her citizens.

NZ’s policies are supportive of overseas investment particularly in the farming, forestry and tourism sectors. Persons of good character who have reasonable financial resources are welcomed.

Here is a great tourism video advertising New Zealand on YouTube.

The New Zealand Economy

Forecasts for the NZ economy are very positive. Growth is primarily coming from the agriculture and tourism sectors.

NZ has a stable economy with sustained growth prospects. More than half of NZ’s exports are agriculture based. Economic growth is sustained by low interest and low inflation rates.

The world needs food and New Zealand is the best primary producer in the world.


Being a relatively small country (you can drive from a beach to a ski field in under 3 hours) your time is spent enjoying all that NZ has to offer, not wasting hours in traffic jams and rush hour traffic. The pace of life is slow and peaceful. There is no need to rush anywhere.

Hunting & Fishing

There is no season, limit or licences for game animals in NZ. The bird shooting season runs for 3 to 10 months depending on the bird. Limits for birds are very generous in comparison to many other countries. The fishing (particularly for trout) is famous throughout the world. As NZ is in the southern hemisphere, the hunting and fishing seasons are complimentary for persons from the northern hemisphere. If you would like further information we recommend you see this website The Hossack Station.

Transferring funds to New Zealand

We operate a Trust Account for our clients. This Trust Account is audited by the NZ Law Society periodically. Each month we are required to provide a certificate to the NZ Law Society which certifies that all funds received and paid out are able to be accounted for.

When the funds are received into the firm’s foreign currency Trust Account in NZ, they are then converted into NZ$s and are placed on an interest bearing deposit in the Trust Account for the credit of the client in the name of the client. The funds can be deposited “on call” or on a fixed term deposit (eg 30, 60, 90, 180, 365 days) within my Trust Account. The client decides on the type of deposit required.

Any interest earned on the funds is only taxed by the NZ Government at the Non Resident Withholding Tax (NRWT) rate of 10%. The 10% NRWT deducted in NZ is used as a tax credit in the US by the client as NZ has a double taxation agreement with the US. The interest earnt on the NZ deposit is assessable income however the 10% NRWT credit helps offset any tax liability.

Exchange Rate

The NZ dollar moves with the international markets but is most closely aligned to the fortunes of the United States dollar. The NZ$ generally moves in a range between US$0.50c and US$0.70c depending on the markets. It has been as high as US$0.80c in recent times although the long term median is US$0.60. Funds are readily transferred between each country, usually to the investor's NZ lawyer's (attorney) trust account. Up to NZ$10 million can be transferred without NZ Government approval. See the latest NZ/US Exchange Rate Graphs.

Tax Benefits

There is no capital gains' tax in New Zealand. The tax rate for companies and trusts is 30% at presen . The non resident withholding tax rate is 10%. There is a very small annual property tax calculated on the value of the land. For those who relocate to New Zealand, individual tax rates are currently 12.5% to 38%.

Overseas Investment Regulations

All purchases of NZ land over 12.5 acres (5 hectares) in size (specific rules apply to land by the seashore and certain islands) require NZ’s Overseas Investment Office’s (OIO) approval unless the overseas person holds less than a 25% interest in the land or land holding entity.

The larger land purchases must be in the "national interest" of NZ. Generally speaking, the purchase of a ranch which has significant development potential will satisfy the OIO's criteria. Our clients have been successful in a number of applications to the OIO. Properties with great potential have been transformed for the better as a consequence of well intentioned, experienced and capitalised overseas investors having been given the opportunity to invest in underperforming land based assets.

We understand the OIO's requirements and identify the properties and structures which are capable of being transferred to the overseas investor/joint venture/equity partner. Sound legal advice and the use of experienced consultants are essential in this area. We can provide that legal advice and ensure our clients have an experienced network of consultants to help them with their future plans.

Leeston Office
2 Chapman Street
PO Box 39
Leeston 7656 | New Zealand

Tel. +64 3 324 3033
Fax. +64 3 324 3037

Solicitors of Selwyn since 1965