Ministers at sea over overseas buyers register

The Prime Minister and three of his ministers are at odds over the collection of information about offshore speculators buying our houses and seem to be making things up as they go, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“John Key this morning told media the Government would publish a ‘tax non-resident list’ after October when offshore speculators will be required to have an IRD number to buy land or a house in New Zealand.

“However also this morning, Land Information Minister Louise Upston is quoted in the New Zealand Herald saying no decisions have been taken about what the Government will release after October, or when.

“That is a direct contradiction again to Housing Minister Nick Smith telling TVNZ’s Q&A yesterday the Government would release information showing how many non-residents have brought property and which jurisdiction they come from within three months.

“On the other hand, Economic Minister Steven Joyce told Morning Report last week that reliable data would start being collected in October but he was unable to say when it would be made publicly available.

“The Government knows it has been against public opinion on setting up a non-residents property register and is scrambling to look like it is doing something.

“Requiring an IRD number won’t stop or reveal offshore speculators hiding behind a New Zealand company or trust.

“It’s time National went the whole hog and launched a foreign buyers register and banned offshore speculators from purchasing existing homes,” Phil Twyford says.