The decision is conditional on Cresswell NZ Ltd providing an additional 60 fulltime jobs and getting the resource consents it needs under the Resource Management Act (RMA), Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage said in a statement.
Creswell NZ Ltd is wholly owned by Nongfu Spring Co Limited, one of China's bottled water suppliers. It applied to increase the amount of water it can draw from the Otakiri Springs in August last year.
The consent means Creswell NZ Ltd can purchase a freehold and leasehold interest in approximately 6.2 hectares of land at Otakiri, near Whakatane in the North Island.
The land is classed as sensitive under the Overseas Investment Act because it is more than 5 hectares of non-urban land and adjoins land held for conservation purposes, Sage said.
Associate Finance Minister David Clark said the Overseas Investment Office recommended approval as Creswell NZ Ltd met the test to provide substantial and identifiable benefits to New Zealand, "specifically more jobs, exports, greater productivity and additional capital investment for the country."
The company proposes to expand the existing water bottling plant and invest more than 42.5 million NZ dollars (29.9 million U.S. dollars) over four years to upgrade the plant and establish two new bottling lines. The expansion is expected to provide 60 fulltime jobs once the new plant is fully operational within four years, Clark said, adding that this is a substantial increase on the current eight jobs at the plant.
Sage said the overseas investment consent was also conditional on the company getting the water permits and other resource consents it needs under the RMA from the local council.