The story seems to be cast as Goff proposing a 15% tax on foreign buyers (the Vancouver model), when in fact he’d prefer foreign buyers only being able to invest in new housing (the Australian model), but at any rate he’s for action.
As he pointed out to Morning Report Auckland Council can’t do it itself (NZ councils actually have the least powers in the OECD), so it would require government action. And while the National has ruled out an outright ban on foreign nationals buying existing housing, they’ve been more equivocal about a stamp duty. So it’s probably a good pressure point to aim at, at least until we can get a Labour-led government.
Some economists seem less convinced, but it’s certainly had an immediate extensive effect in Vancouver, and other Canadian cities are all following suit (you’d just want to do it Aotearoa-wide here). No-one believes the government figures that only 4% of sales in Auckland are to foreign buyers (it clearly doesn’t include people buying through NZ trusts or people on temporary visas), but even a small percentage of extra buyers can push prices up disproportionately.
Ultimately the big answer is more houses (Kiwibuild anyone?), but there isn’t a silver bullet in the short and medium term and we should do all we can across a number of fronts. But all this government is good for seems to be inaction.
While we’re on local government candidates – make sure you vote! Several centres are at record low returns, so your vote will definitely count! Stephanie has had a couple of great posts on working out who your good local candidates are.