This blog was visited by a large number of Googlers yesterday. They were searching for Auckland International Airport [AIA] information.
Those searches were principally related to questions about the possibility of its sale, so I thought I would write something opinionated on just that subject.
This interest would have been sparked by the National Government's relaxing of rules and legislation surrounding the overseas ownership and purchase of New Zealand assets announced by them today.
I wrote back in February that we were likely to see just this very scenario occur:
With the new National Government in place and the current relaxing of the rules around the RMA, the major planning law that has stopped economic development of New Zealand, we could expect to see developments in other areas of business in regards to relaxing laws and legislation to allow business to flow quicker and therefore more efficiently and more profitably.
Small parts of overseas investment criteria have been relaxed immediately but there will be a review of the Overseas Investment Act with a view to relax current complications and confusion.
The 3 main points of the act that will be looked at latter in the year that are pertinent to any possible bid for Auckland Airport are:
1. the thresholds determining which land and business investments are screened are set at the right level -- so only genuinely sensitive assets are captured.
2. Providing greater certainty for investors, by removing the ability to substantially change overseas investment rules during applications.
3. Simplifying the screening of investments in sensitive land, while ensuring that overseas investors are subject to a higher standard than domestic investors.The airport sale was stymied by the previous Labour Administration by a law that was expressly passed for the AIA bid by DAE and the Canadian Teacher's Pension fund as well as confusion brought by the 3 parts of the act noted above.
With an overhaul of this act, relaxation of other overseas investment rules and a business friendly shake-up of Auckland Council's that hold airport shares, Auckland Airport will soon be in play.
Disclosure I own AIA shares in the Share Investor Portfolio
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