PHOTO: SUPPLIED Hadleigh Station is 1727 hectares of sensitive land, 15 minutes drive from Masterton.
An Austrian countess breached New Zealand’s overseas investment rules while buying an iconic farm station to convert to pine trees, but was allowed to keep the property and was fined just a fraction of the purchase price.
The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) also found the New Zealand businessman who set up the land deal for the countess committed a breach of OIO rules, but it said it had no power to take action against him.
Countess Veronika Leeb-Goess-Saurau made headlines when she bought Hadleigh Station in 2018, paying $13.4 million for what was seen as a “showpiece property” of 1727 hectares of sensitive land, 15 minutes drive from Masterton.
The OIO told RNZ she bought the land without the proper authority, but it issued her retrospective consent and fined her just $10,000 – less than 0.1 per cent of the purchase price.
READ MORE VIA STUFF