New Zealand Labour Party

Time for true numbers on overseas speculators

It’s time for the Government to give accurate figures on the number of houses being bought by overseas speculators, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson Raymond Huo.

“National still isn’t giving us a true picture of the size of the overseas speculator problem. The Land Information NZ report itself admits ‘this document is not a register of foreign ownership of residential or other property’.

“Former Minister Louise Upton has admitted the data is ‘not ideal’ because data has only been collected since the introduction of the bright line test in October 2015.

“This means that the scale of influence by foreign buyers in the domestic residential market at the height of their activity prior to October 2015 will remain unknown forever.

“The Government’s figures rely on tax residency, but not the citizenship or residency status of the ultimate owner. So, an overseas speculator buying through a New Zealand trust is counted as a New Zealand purchase. And the data does not include business purchases so we are clearly not getting the full picture.

“The ultimate question is why, in the middle of a housing crisis, we should allow overseas speculators to buy New Zealand homes at all. They are not contributing to the housing stock and are only further pushing up prices.

“Labour will ban overseas speculators from buying existing houses in New Zealand. Overseas persons wanting to own property here will have to build new houses – adding to our housing stock and supporting growth in the construction sector,” says Raymond Huo.