[28 September/Farmers Weekly]

Fewer international people were buying New Zealand farms, which was blamed in part on the 15 percent in the dairy farm price index last year. Westpac Senior Economist, Anne Boniface, said the tightening of rules last year was most noticeably felt in the dairy sector. The tightening of rules for foreign investors buying land over 5 hectares put greater importance on economic factors, and required oversight. She added not all of the decline was due to the rules, and prices for some other land types had increased. ANZ Commercial and Agri Managing Director, Mark Hiddleston, said the impact of policies to restrict international investors was still to be fully realised. Partner at Chapman Tripp, Bill Sandston, said foreign investors had withdrawn from four or five farm sales his firm was dealing with. There was still a lot of investor interest in buying New Zealand land due to the country being safe and stable.