National continues to provide misleading, partial data on the scale of overseas speculators buying Kiwi houses – but even what they admit is unacceptable, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.
“According to the Government’s figures, around 3,000 houses a year are being bought by people who are neither New Zealand citizens nor residents – and this excludes houses brought by overseas-owned New Zealand companies. One house being bought by an overseas speculator in the middle of a housing crisis is too many.
“The Government still refuses to give the public the full picture. The data counts the 16 per cent of house purchases by New Zealand registered corporations as New Zealand buyers when, in fact, any number of these could be owned by overseas speculators. And a purchase by multiple buyers that includes both overseas and New Zealand buyers is counted solely as a New Zealand purchase.
“New Zealanders simply don’t buy National’s attempts to hide and minimise the problem of overseas speculators who use our homes as gambling chips. Along with a government house-building programme, like Labour’s KiwiBuild, Kiwis view a ban on foreign speculators buying our houses as the best solution to the housing crisis.
“National is so keen to persuade the public that foreign buyers are not a problem that they repeatedly put out numbers that don’t accurately measure the activity of what the public understand to be foreign buyers. The Overseas Investment Office already has a perfectly good definition of who is an overseas buyer of farmland and commercial assets – why hasn’t National used this for measuring overseas speculation in the housing market?
“For nine years, National has turned a blind eye to overseas speculators buying our houses. It’s time for a fresh approach. Labour backs the great majority of Kiwis who want to ban foreign speculators from buying existing homes, just as they do in Australia,” says Phil Twyford.