Wellington lawyer to head OIO review

by NZ Lawyer13 May 2016
Wellington barrister Terence Stapleton QC has been appointed to the head of a review of the Overseas Investment Office’s process for assessing good character.

The appointment, announced yesterday by Land Information New Zealand chief executive Peter Mersi, follows revelations the OIO approved the 2014 sale of a large farm in Taranaki to Argentine investors, who had previously been found criminally responsible for toxic discharges into a river in Buenos Aires, the NZ Herald reported.

Potential breaches of the way the office provides information of “good character” requirements will now be reviewed.

“To test whether the process in place for assessing good character is sufficiently robust, I have asked for an independent review of it,” Mersi said, saying it had become apparent that information relevant to the good character test was not always made available to the relevant ministers.

“I am pleased that Mr Stapleton QC has agreed to undertake the review. He is a high calibre and respected member of the legal fraternity, and we can expect a rigorous investigation.”

Stapleton will provide the report, and recommendations, to Mersi by June 15.