15 Feb 2011

Business NZ welcomes joint investment agreement

5:33 pm on 15 February 2011

Business New Zealand says a trans-Tasman investment agreement will help New Zealand businesses operating in Australia.

The Investment Protocol is the next step on the path to a single economic market between the nations and will be signed by Prime Minister John Key and Australian leader Julia Gillard in Wellington on Wednesday.

Under the agreement, Australians will be able to invest up to $477 million in New Zealand without facing screening, while New Zealanders will be able to invest about $1 billion in Australia.

Business New Zealand chief executive Phil O'Reilly says New Zealand is a big market for many large Australian companies.

The agreement will hopefully lead to more local companies having their headquarters in New Zealand but doing the majority of their business in Australia, he says.

However, the Green Party says the transfer of profits from Australian-owned banks drains about $2.5 billion a year from the New Zealand economy

Future foreign ownership will only exacerbate that problem, it says.