This made me laugh. Idiot Savant at No Right Turn reports that Queenstown Lakes District Council wants an exemption on luxury houses from the government’s foreign buyers ban. Because no-one in New Zealand can afford to buy those houses, very rich people that live in another country won’t be able to sell their overpriced houses for a capitalist profit. Boo fucking hoo.
Not so funny is that the Mayor and CE are willing to throw locals under a bus. Queenstown Lakes has a housing shortage that means that builders live in tents on building sites and families can’t afford to rent even if they can find a house. House prices have been increasing on par with Auckland at the same time as long term rental properties are being converted to AirBnB and similar accommodation.
The proposed law doesn’t apply to anyone who actually lives here, so what QLDC is saying is that non-resident foreigners should be allowed to own parts of New Zealand for use as emergency boltholes for when they’ve fucked up the world, or as a commodity, effectively a house-shaped gold bar. And I just don’t see why we should accept that, especially when said house-shaped gold bars are fucking things up for the rest of us. While QLDC is correct that the luxury property market is effectively a foreign market, utterly out of reach of almost all kiwis, those empty luxury houses are still taking up land which could be used for real homes for real people – something Queenstown is desperately short of. If they are devalued by the law, then maybe that land will be used for other purposes. The only losers in that will be the foreign speculators and the parasitic developers and real-estate agents who service them. But I guess the latter are exactly the sorts of people who get elected to local authorities and use them as a platform to promote their own economic interests.
1.1.4 QLDC is keen to improve affordability for all New Zealanders, as it provides our ratepayers with a significant challenge. However, QLDC on behalf of its highly international community does not support the Bill as it currently stands for the following reasons
In other words, QLDC are prioritising non-NZ residents over the people that live in their district.
1.4.1 The Bill does not provide sufficient evidence to support the proposition that overseas buyers are pushing up house prices. The role played by second home ownership (irrespective of nationality) needs to be considered.
I don’t know if that phrasing was intentional or a mistake, but they appear to be saying that NZers who own holiday homes should be targeted instead of uber wealthy foreigners. If they meant investors with additional properties, they should have said so.
2.2.2 Due to the prevalence of affordability issues in the District, QLDC has undertaken considerable work to understand the nature of the problem in our region and is therefore well positioned to provide informed comment on the matter.
That would be the QLDC that has allowed a major housing crisis, including for renters, to develop in its district in the same way that the National government has nationally.
2.6 This hospitable outlook isn’t new, as residents of the Queenstown Lakes District have traditionally always been very international. An eclectic, multicultural community is part of our history and fabric, reflected in settlements at every corner of our District, from the Chinese gold-mining settlement in Arrowtown to the Scottish farmers in Kinloch.
2.7 Our vision for our 2018/28 Ten Year Plan is “vibrant communities, enduring landscapes, bold leadership”. Inclusivity for all, including overseas migrants, is a key community outcome for QLDC.
2.8 We are keen to ensure that all who make the commitments required through a residency class visa are given the opportunity to settle, contribute and make the District their home. Being able to purchase homes and land is a central part of welcoming migrants into our community and into kiwi culture.
QLDC appears to be confused about the differences between colonisation, migration, and economic class imperialism. Or the difference between someone who migrates to NZ and someone who buys and sells property from off shore.
Maybe they’re arguing for a globalist approach whereby national borders have less meaning, but funnily enough they don’t appear to be pushing for a living wage for either the people that live there permanently or the large numbers of temporary migrant workers that the area depends upon.
Or maybe they’re just wanting to give residency to
uber wealthy non-resident property owners the people killing the planet who have already bought end of the world bolt-holes.
4.4.1 In reference to the points outlined in section 3.0, QLDC recommends that the progress of the Bill is delayed in order to faciliate collation of comprehensive research and to engage in a dialogue with a broader range of stakeholders and interested parties. This will enable officers to explore potential impacts in greater detail.
Colour me really fucking cynical, but Labour have been signalling this for a year or more, so if rich people haven’t gotten their affairs in order by now they’re going to have to suck it up.
Queenstown has always been a gold-mining town, so none of this is a surprise. It’s still shocking to see it stated so boldly. QLDC appear to sit somewhere between National and Labour. They at least recognise the housing crisis exists, but they appear to be happy to tinker around the edges so long as their core business interests aren’t affected. What they’re not willing to do is understand and act on the reality that the housing market and greed economics are now utterly incompatible with the right of NZers to have a home.