New Zealand Labour Party

Banks bust a move, Government possum in the headlights

Three of the big four banks have acted responsibly by bringing the shutters down on property speculators earlier than required by the Reserve Bank, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“It’s a shame the Government isn’t as motivated to act on the housing crisis as the banks are.  

“Banks make billions of dollars in profit from mortgage lending, yet even they are saying the market is out of control and at risk of a bust.

“The ANZ this morning brought in extra restrictions on investors, and have moved against land bankers, hot on the heels of the bank’s CEO David Hisco publicly warning of the risk of a correction in the property market.

“The moves by ANZ, Westpac and ASB have highlighted the risks to the housing market posed by out of control property speculation. Hopefully the other banks will follow suit.

“It is a bizarre situation where the banks are voluntarily moving to restrict property speculation, just as they moved to shut down lending to non-resident foreign buyers – while the Government looks for all the world like a possum in the headlights, and seems only capable of blaming the Auckland Council, and counselling first home buyers to be patient.

“There is now a chorus of establishment voices: the ANZ Bank, the Reserve Bank, economist Arthur Grimes, and EMA chief executive Kim Campbell who are all raising the alarm about the housing crisis and saying that the Government’s policy response is inadequate.

“Meanwhile the Government is officially in denial, but daily flounders around announcing random policy seemingly designed to make it look as if they are doing something.

“Something has to give. Heavily mortgaged Auckland home owners will be hoping it is not the market bust David Hisco is warning about,” Phil Twyford says.