Land Information New Zealand

07/31/2018 | News release | Distributed by Public on 07/30/2018 21:00

The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) of Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) has granted consent to Southern Ranges Ltd, owned by Czech Republic-born businessman and New Zealand[...]

31 July 2018

The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) of Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) has granted consent to Southern Ranges Ltd, owned by Czech Republic-born businessman and New Zealand permanent resident Lukas Travnicek, to acquire Mt White Station.

Mt White Station is a high-country sheep and beef farm that includes 39,337 hectares of Crown pastoral lease and 678 hectares of freehold land in Bealey, near Arthur's Pass, in Canterbury.

At the same time, the Commissioner of Crown Lands has given consent to transfer Mt White Station's Crown pastoral lease to Southern Ranges.

'The pastoral lease land remains in Crown ownership, and current public access to parts of Mt White Station and protection for the station's conservation values will continue,' said LINZ Deputy Chief Executive Crown Property Jerome Sheppard.

The property includes almost 1,000 hectares, known as Riversdale Flats, which was set aside for inclusion in a national park in 1901. This did not happen when Arthur's Park National Park was created in 1929, and the land was included in the Mt White pastoral lease in the early 1950s. Riversdale Flats has been leased and grazed as part of Mt White Station since the 1890s.

'Land Information New Zealand has been working with the Department of Conservation, and will meet Mr Travnicek's representatives on Friday to begin discussions about Riversdale Flats,' Mr Sheppard said.

'Mr Travnicek has indicated that he is keen to find a solution, and further meetings are planned to progress the discussions,' Mr Sheppard said.

The tenure review process initiated by Mt White Station's former lessee stops with the sale of the lease. If Mr Travnicek wants to enter tenure review he will need to apply to the Commissioner of Crown Lands.

Mr Travnicek was granted a New Zealand permanent residency visa in November 2013, and his wife and children are New Zealand citizens.

He needs OIO approval because he returned temporarily to the Czech Republic in May 2017, so he is not currently ordinarily resident in New Zealand and is considered an overseas person under the Overseas Investment Act.

Mr Travnicek applied under the residency pathway of the Overseas Investment Act. Under this pathway, people must have the relevant visa and show they intend to live in New Zealand indefinitely. They are not required to show benefits to New Zealand, including walking access, and therefore the OIO was not in a position to make access a condition of consent.

Current public access to Mt White Station will continue unchanged.

The OIO requires Mr Travnicek to return to New Zealand in just over 12 months and no longer be an overseas person within two years. If he is not able to meet these conditions, Mr Travnicek must dispose of the property.

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