Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong

Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“This Government is so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they announced Budget tax policy as a political stunt.

“It was so rushed officials hadn’t done any modelling. It is obvious the Government went into a panic after the Reserve Bank publicly embarrassed them by saying they weren’t doing enough, and needed to tackle property speculators.

“All the two-year rule does is create a massive loophole which invites speculators to hold onto their properties and flick them after two years and one day.

“The Government cynically did the bare minimum they thought would make it look as if they were doing something.

“Based on Treasury modelling from 2010, John Key’s so-called ‘bright line test’ will net at most 1000 of the nearly 80,000 house sales, and raise just $18 million each year. It is a weak, half-hearted measure given that 40 per cent of sales are to property investors, worth billions of dollars.

“National are desperate. None of their policies have worked. Their Special Housing Areas have produced 170 houses in a year and a half. Their LVRs have driven first home buyers from the market. Their homebuyer subsidies are driving prices even higher.

“Everything they touch turns to dust.  Every day the average Auckland house goes up by $1000.

“If the Government thinks a stunt like this will fool people into thinking they are on top of the housing crisis they are dreaming,” Phil Twyford says.