New Zealand announced today that it will expand government power, block foreign investment involving national security, and strengthen supervision of strategically important industries that have been reviewed.
Reuters reported that New Zealand’s proposed legislation would allow the government to intervene in investments that are less frequently reviewed but may raise doubts, similar to companies and media organizations that develop military technology.
David Parker, the deputy head of the Treasury, said: “This power will only be used to control investments that pose a serious risk to our national security or public order.”
Western countries are increasingly concerned about the risks posed by their dual-use technology, especially in China, where New Zealand has also proposed changes.
Parker said at the press conference that these changes are not directed at any particular home, nor are they “anti-China.”
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s center-left Labour government has tried to tighten foreign investment regulations since taking office in 2017, and in 2018 imposed a ban on most foreign home buyers.
The government has the right to make decisions based on national interests, allowing New Zealand to stand on the same front as neighboring Australia. In recent years, Australia has blocked many Chinese investment cases, including the bidding of energy grids and pipeline operators. Both countries have also restricted the use of China Telecom giant Huawei equipment to build 5G mobile networks.
These new regulations will also strengthen the supervision of investment projects in strategically important industries that have been reviewed, such as critical infrastructure such as airports and ports.
Parker said: “This gives the government a wide discretion, and we will reach a deal when we have the will, and refuse to approve when we think it is not in the national interest.”
Members of the US Congress also urged the government to quickly announce relevant regulations to make it more difficult for precision technology to export to China in case Beijing raises its military power.