Time for foreign buyers register

It is time the Government set up a foreign buyers register so New Zealanders can see exactly how many of our houses offshore speculators are purchasing, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says.

“Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce was being cute this morning when he said the Government would be collecting this data from October 1.

“From that date all house buyers will have to have a New Zealand IRD number. That is not the same as a foreign buyers register because there is no guarantee the information will be available in a way that allows public scrutiny.

“A register would provide a searchable and up-to-date database which would inform the market and public debate. Without one, the Government will simply pick and choose data to support its false claim foreign speculators only account for 1 per cent of all house sales.

“The Government must also assure New Zealanders non-resident foreign buyers purchasing properties through companies or trusts will be required to disclose overseas interest in accordance with the Overseas Investment Act which has a 25 per cent threshold.

“Kiwi families who are struggling to buy their own home want to know the impact offshore speculators are having on skyrocketing Auckland house prices. They are sick and tired of losing homes at auction to higher bidders down the end of a telephone line in another country.

“Chinese investment specialist David Mahon today said investors in China are amazed they can come to New Zealand on holiday and buy a house because they are unable to do that anywhere else.

“National needs to start listening to what the public want and set up a proper register, not another halfway measure which is becoming the trademark of this Government,” Andrew Little says.