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Action not words, needed on housing speculation

John Key should be taking action to crack down on speculation in our overheated housing market, instead of random musings on land tax, Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said. 

"John Key suggested today on TVNZ's Q and A programme that a land tax on overseas buyers might be a way to deal with the housing crisis that is leaving many middle New Zealanders with little hope of the security of home ownership.   

"After years of denying there is a problem it seems the Prime Minister might have woken up to the damage that offshore speculators are doing. But there is no action to back up these musings. The government continues to sit on its hands as house prices spiral upwards and the Kiwi dream of owning a home slips out of reach of more people. 

"This random statement from John Key raises a lot of questions. Has he done the work on what the impact of a land tax would be, and how it would apply? Is this just a revenue grab or would it actually have an impact on the number of offshore buyers? How does this fit with National's promise not to implement new taxes?  

"John Key also said that New Zealand is prevented from introducing a stamp duty under ‘free trade agreements’ but this is the very provision National was claiming was open to Labour as an alternative to a ban on offshore purchases buying existing residential property. 

"Labour has been clear. We believe that like Australia we should have a ban on offshore buyers purchasing existing residential property. This is a clear and direct way to crack down on those who speculate with no intention of living in New Zealand and contributing to our society. The failure of the government to protect this option under the TPPA has let New Zealanders down.  

"John Key's vague and complacent approach to offshore speculation in housing shows how arrogant and out of touch he is with the reality of New Zealanders who now have the lowest home ownership rates in more than 60 years and in Auckland facing house price to income ratios of nearly 10 to 1"  Phil Twyford said.