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National don’t know and don’t want to know about foreign ownership of housing

Written By: - Date published: 1:09 pm, May 20th, 2014 - 43 comments
Categories: housing, john key, national - Tags:

Following up on yesterday’s post, there have been a couple of interesting bits in the media regarding National’s head-in-the-sand attitude to the housing crisis.

Criticism has come from their base in the form of a surprisingly critical interview that housing minister Nick Smith endured on the Paul Henry Show (about 14 min in, thanks ianmac).

The other is yesterday’s editorial in nzherald which was also critical of Nick Smith’s approach.

The common factor in both criticisms was that the government could find out the degree of foreign ownership of housing but they are simply choosing not to.

Given Orivida et al, it isn’t surprising that once again, National’s natural instinct is to protect the interests of foreign money.

Clearly not all of National’s base are pleased that their party is happy with foreign money buying up the country.

Yesterday I compared Key to Muldoon, which wasn’t really fair. At least Muldoon was trying to do the best for the citizens of New Zealand, misguided as his actions were. In contrast, Key appears only to have loyalty to big money.

43 comments on “National don’t know and don’t want to know about foreign ownership of housing”

  1. Steve Withers 1

    This reason (and others) is why tend to refer to National as the “Multi-National Party” or – more recently – the “Multi-National 1% Party (NZ Branch)”. If they can screw over a million Kiwis for the benefit of a foreign corporation….whatever it goes straight to the top of their list. Example: Max Bradford’s electricity reforms.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Very insightful…local Tory wealth is trying to gain membership rights to the global elite 0.01% and have to pay their dues – which includes sacrificing the rest of us. (Bearing in mind that to even be considered by the global oligarchic class you need a wealth of US$100M or more; if his $50M wealth estimate is still accurate then John Key is still not that far beyond the category of “well paid lackey”).

      • Chooky 1.1.1

        @CV…but he is very ambitious…and he has a country to play with…or use as a backer

        • Chooky

          knowledge and power of a country attract investors and big monied ‘friends’….and investment opportunities….and special relationships …..cf Nationals shenanigans with Oravida

          insider knowledge = power = money making opportunites

    • Chooky 1.2

      +100 Steve Withers

  2. Clean_power 2

    C’mon Mr Withers, you are a wealthy Canadian, part of the 1% yourself.
    How can you say that? Or do you feel guilty for being well-off?

    • JanM 2.1

      Where on earth do you get the idea that the only people entitled to critically examine our government’s policies are the born-in-New Zealand poor?

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      C’mon Mr Withers, you are a wealthy Canadian, part of the 1% yourself.
      How can you say that? Or do you feel guilty for being well-off?

      Maybe he understands that everyone is harmed by excessive economic inequality.

      Maybe he gets that when things go really bad, the historical example says that the 1% who allowed massive unfairness to build up in society, often ended up swinging from lamp posts and trees.

      Maybe he simply has compassion for his fellow human beings.

  3. fambo 3

    The statistics I heard a while back were that around six percent of house buyers are from China, and 60 percent of them live overseas (although the way it was presented in the media was “40 percent live in New Zealand” which softens it a bit). Also, that they were buying predominantly in certain parts of Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Nelson (may have been a few other places as well). Given that six percent is the overall total for all sales in New Zealand but they are actually concentrating purchases in certain areas, that must mean they make up probably 10 percent and more of the vendors in some localities which inevitably makes them a big player in the real estate market. I always think it is important to point out, that this would be disturbing whatever nationality was involved. It just so happens in this case that they are Chinese.

    • Tracey 3.1

      i understand trips are organised for groups of aussies to come over here for property investment scouting:-)

      • Chooky 3.1.1

        and the Aussies are not the only ones here in groups for property investment scouting.

        …the point is that when there is a crisis housing shortage for New Zealanders the John Key NACT government is Recklessly BETRAYING New Zealanders!

        …. especially young New Zealanders who want to buy their first property to live in …..and even worse those New Zealanders who are being priced out of affordable quality rental accommodation because of scarcity …..New Zealand houses are being bought by uncontrolled immigration and overseas investors

        …..it certainly is an election issue and Labour should be whipping it up for all they can….Winnie certainly will be !….and the Greens and Mana!

    • Chooky 3.2

      +100 fambo

  4. Ant 4

    This is a massive wedge issue Labour can make use of, National are massively vulnerable here.

  5. vto 5

    Nick Smith claimed that 11% of the market that is foreign buyers is a small and negligible share.

    This is complete and utter bullshit. 11% is the difference between a rising market and an easing market.

    • Tracey 5.1

      do you know if they make up 11% of total buyers or 11% of total purchase values?

      • vto 5.1.1

        number of buyers.

        and of course that 11% is an average so in certain areas the proportion will be significantly higher while areas like Whangamomona will be near nil.

    • framu 5.2

      some one needs to ask him what effect an 11% rush on buying a companies shares has on the share price

    • Draco T Bastard 5.3

      11% is the difference between a rising market and an easing crashing market.


      It what happens to asset bubbles and National knows it which is why they’re protecting it.

      • vto 5.3.1

        Yes, I know. Just didn’t want to sound too dramatic..

        And yes, National do know it and that rising house prices leads to most voters (especially in the middle) feeling better of and voting in the incumbent. Clark knew it as well and let similar thing happen.

        But I suspect there may be a difference this time around. Namely, that the ‘housing crisis’ really is a crisis and that most people, including middle house owners, know that it is a bad situation. House prices of the level they are today do not even help people already on the property ladder.

        It may well backfire this rime around …..

  6. vto 6

    Foreign ownership of housing (and other land) brings absolutely no benefit to New Zealand.

    People are slowly cottoning onto this.

    • minarch 6.1

      i dont think that was the motive ……

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      IMO, People have always known this. It’s never been the peoples will that NZ get sold off. It has only been the will of the rich.

  7. Enough is Enough 7

    Ban foreigners. It is an easy policy.

    You don’t have a New Zealand passport you cannot purchase property.

  8. Stuart Munro 8

    One of the fastest ways to generate robust objective figures on foreign purchasing is a moratorium. Halt sales for a year and see what happens to sales. This will rapidly reveal the extent of the problem – if it is actually trivial it can be reversed with no long term ill effects. But if the problem is significant it has the virtue of doing something serious about it.

  9. ScottGN 9

    The Nats latest panicked lurch on housing is Nick Smith blaming Auckland City Council for the affordability crisis because they’ve stifled supply.

    • vto 9.1

      Yes, and that is also complete and utter bullshit.

      Base cost of land for subdivision and housing development in Christchurch sits around $25 – 40,000. How much lower can that go? Just give the land away? Auckland little different.

      Nick Smith is a complete and utter bullshitter – check his eyes. Anyone who has each eye a different size opening and looking differently is someone to be wary of. Always been this way.

      Nick Smith is a liar.

      • Roy 9.1.1

        Looking at his different-sized eyes and his complexion, I suspect that Nick Smith has had a small stroke and is a heavy drinker.

    • Tracey 9.2

      it is act and national who turned auckland into a single consenting team from 8 different teams. and shrunk the team accordingly.

      on the other hand some of the people who know the least about the building act are in aucklands consenting team. its a bullying and dysfunction group, lording it over homeowners with threats of 200k fines and a ” because i said so” attitude to natural justice.

  10. Tracey 10

    so paul henry and the herald editor attack smith… but not the conductor of the orchestra.

  11. DH 11

    I think National are deliberately underplaying foreign investment because they’re afraid to admit how much trouble we’re in economically. On the path they’re taking us we need foreign investment, the current account deficit is funded by it.

    In our trading with the world the picture is this;

    Exports of goods & services $62.7 billion
    Imports of goods & services $61.9 billion

    Dividends from overseas investments $6.3 billion
    Dividends paid to foreign investors $15.5 billion

    Current account deficit $8.7 billion

    (that’s full year to September 2013)

    In forex terms we’re selling NZ$8.7 billion more than we’re buying back, if we didn’t take in foreign investment our currency would crash (to invest here foreigners have to buy $NZD). The current account deficit is expected to increase to some $15 billion and we need to fund that with even more foreign investment.

    Problem is we’re running out of things to sell. Ain’t many decent businesses or crown assets left now is there, govt can’t borrow much more either, so we’re down to flogging off property…. residential & commercial.

    • Skinny 11.1

      It’s the biggest mordern day swindle of our time John Key the money trading shyster along with his sidekick Joyce & English have done a con job on far too many gullible Kiwi’s.

      It won’t be till the books are opened after the election that Kiwi’s will findout the true extent of the deceit. Key will be off to a bolt hole in his homeland of America, Joyce will disappear off the map and English will be in retreat in the highlands of Otago.

      All the current Government MP’s should be detained at the airport after the election. They should face treason charges once the books are opened, the whole damn lot of them.

    • dave 11.2

      1984 people its happening again I really hope not we don’t have incomes or saving to weather a major economic hit 1984 was Govt. debt this time its the whole of society private and public drowning in debt

  12. Chooky 12

    that is pretty sobering!…my first instinct was to say “Where is Winnie?….seriously

    …which political party has the best solution to take back our economic sovereignty , assets, democracy and independence as a country?

    ….which political party is exposing John Key’s NACT gross economic incompetence?

    ….should we be taking back the banks?

    …what about a FTT( Financial Transaction Tax) ?

    …what is the best way out of this hole?

    • BM 12.1

      Winston Peters, LOL.

      The silly old prick has lost his marbles.

      Glue works beckon.

      [lprent: You know how I feel about threats of violence… 😈 ]

      • Chooky 12.1.1

        BM !!!…tragically for you….Winnie will swing the Nacts this election…and you know it!

        Winston will bring about the DEFEAT of John Key and the National Government in a few months

        …and Winston Peters will again become the brilliant Minister of Foreign Affairs in a Labour led Government

        EAT YOUR HEART OUT! … BM you silly old fool! (…couldnt resist saying that)

  13. Ad 13

    Both Labour and Greens will easily get boxed with racism if they pursue this. Do they really want to gift the Chinese 15% of the NZ electorate to National? Greens could afford to, but not Labour. And that’s a shit load of donor cash to say goodbye to.

    Only Winston Peters has the record (and the stones) to do the full UKIP/Enoch Powell opera dogwhistle on this one. Maybe there’s a 1% poll shift in it. I think not much more. Our demographics have changed too much – even since 2008.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1


      Any ethnically Chinese voter who has actually resided in NZ for more than 10 years will most probably have no problem whatsoever with housing foreign ownership restrictions. I don’t, for instance. Potential exceptions would include Mandarin speaking real estate agents working in NZ. It would piss them off big time. But that’s vested interest for you.

      And the ones who have been here for significantly less than 10 years – they understand the rationale as it’s exactly how things are done in heavily Chinese countries like Singapore and China. Neither the Singaporean nor the Chinese governments have any problem with instant snap freezing of property asset bubbles with overnight announcements of increased stamp duties, mortgage limits, development regulations and ownership restrictions.

      In comparison, NZ politicians are totally gutless, overseeing the dismemberment of the productive sectors of the economy over a decade of property price speculation.

      • Chooky 13.1.1

        well said …and it is something Winston Peters understands….as Minister of Foreign Affairs he had a very good rapport with Asian leaders

  14. Fats 15

    “Yesterday I compared Key to Muldoon, which wasn’t really fair. At least Muldoon was trying to do the best for the citizens of New Zealand, misguided as his actions were.”

    Actually, if you want to compare anyone to Muldoon, it would probably best be the Greens. They share his interventionist and centrally-planned ideology, although Labour is moving that way too. It’s ironic that in many ways Muldoon was far more socialist than anyone in National now. He thought Think Big projects and the National Development Act would fix everything – he was wrong. But the Greens and Labour are now his torchbearers.

    This housing bubble is serious but you can’t blame it on Key, although it IS tempting. Helen Clark bears a lot of the blame. When she tweaked personal taxes she left a shedload of loopholes so that property investment was an easy way for the well-off to ensure that their tax bill didn’t go up. And sometimes fell. I’m sure the fact that she’s reportedly got an investment portfolio of six properties wasn’t a factor in her thinking.

    There are a number of measures that the Reserve Bank could take to let the steam out of this property market, but middle NZ (those who have mortgages) would scream, banks would suddenly start worrying about loan quality etc. It’s not an easy problem to fix, no matter what demagogues like John Minto etc would have you believe.

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