New Zealand Labour Party

Transparency on foreign buyers register needed

News that Land Information New Zealand officials have been working on a register of foreign buyers of New Zealand homes is a welcome surprise, but Land Information Minister Louise Upston now needs to be clear on the details of the project, Labour’s Land Information spokesperson Stuart Nash says.

“It’s no wonder the Government is being secretive about work being done in this area. Labour has been calling on a register to be set up for some time. On the other hand National’s response has always been to claim a register is both unnecessary and xenophobic.

“Kiwis deserve to know who is buying New Zealand’s land and houses, and where they are from. There are a number of unhelpful rumours and innuendos about the level and scale of foreign ownership and its impact on the housing and rural markets. We now need to quantify the scale of such activity.

“Having a register isn’t a unique concept – many countries, including Australia, have one.

“Louise Upston has been very vague about where Land Information NZ is at with this since Bill English let the cat out of the bag. She initially said he didn’t have details on what was being done by officials and then stated that LINZ is doing ‘preliminary work in tracking foreign ownership’.

“Ms Upston, Bill English and John Key need to get their stories straight.

“I suspect the data would actually show a significant number of foreign speculators are buying New Zealand property for its tax benefits. There is virtually no other investment in the developed world where investors can get a tax-free return. 

“This is how investment in New Zealand real estate is marketed into China by some companies. It just doesn’t seem right,” Stuart Nash says.