The Labour Government’s jury-rigged “ban” on selling houses to foreign buyers in a very strange announcement that raises many more questions than it answers, National Party Finance spokesperson Steven Joyce says.
“The first and strangest thing about Labour’s announcement is that it isn’t an actual ban. Putting houses through a sensitive land purchase criteria is definitely bureaucratic but does not constitute a ban on such sales,” Mr Joyce says.
“There are also all sorts of definitional questions. Is an apartment on the fourth floor of a building ‘sensitive land’? Is a two hectare property with two houses on it that’s being sold for development able to be sold to an international investor?
“This proposal would also be a massive compliance cost for house buyers of all types. For example, will somebody with a foreign sounding name have to prove their citizenship to the real estate agent?
“The whole announcement was very strange,” Mr Joyce says. “There has been no paperwork released and the Prime Minister indicated many of the detailed decisions remain to be made.
“This smacks very much as a ‘bright idea’ with absolutely no detail or evidence base behind it. The Prime Minister even spoke as if the Auckland property market was still rapidly appreciating whereas in actual fact it’s been flat to falling for the last year.
“Finally, if the idea gets over all the hurdles, would it actually work in terms of satisfying the concerns of our trading partners? It appears on the face of it that it would treat investors from other countries less favourably than New Zealand investors.
“This is a policy that’s designed to solve a political problem. Evidence in both Australia and here in New Zealand is that overseas buyers don’t have a significant impact on the housing market.”