Easy Foreign Investor Target Not Necessarily the Right One

By   /   June 11, 2018  /   31 Comments

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The recent release of Statistics New Zealand figures showing the levels of foreign investment in New Zealand properties confirmed biases for many. I’m not a fan of globalisation, or investor capitalism, per se, but I do have an expectation that facts will inform policy and that liberal citizens and politicians will avoid racist dog whistles misleading attention away from real causes of inequality and injustice.

The recent release of Statistics New Zealand figures showing the levels of foreign investment in New Zealand properties confirmed biases for many. I’m not a fan of globalisation, or investor capitalism, per se, but I do have an expectation that facts will inform policy and that liberal citizens and politicians will avoid racist dog whistles misleading attention away from real causes of inequality and injustice.

Unfortunately, the media, politicians and the public have been in collusion this week, jumping on the ‘bad foreign investors pushing up house prices’ bandwagon without evidence justifying it. In doing so, they lose their humanity, giving space for abuse of people who look different from us (racial and nationalist stereotypes to the fore), and ignore the more fundamental causes of spiralling house prices and plummeting home ownership.

Having a secure, affordable home is a basic right. Owning that home, in New Zealand, has cultural significance, and is tied up with what it means to be a Kiwi. It’s clear that residential property inflation has put home ownership out of reach of many. Property values rose by 34% over the three years prior to 2017, and home ownership is now at its lowest rate in 65 years. Only a quarter of Kiwis now own their own home, down from a half in 1991. Auckland has an estimated shortfall of about 40,000 homes.

Foreign, especially Chinese, investment in the western world has generated plenty of heat but not much light, with lots of conjecture but little empirical research into its impacts on domestic housing markets. Internationally, Chinese foreign investment rose 60% from $600m in 2009 to $4.4 billion in 2014. But to what degree is the bogeyman of Chinese and other foreign investment, impacting on housing affordability? And therefore how well targeted is the Government’s proposed ban on foreign investor property ownership, compared with other potential remedies to unaffordable housing?
Across the country in this year’s first quarter, 3% of house sales were to overseas investors, though the incidence of overseas investment was lumpy. Statistics show a coincidence between the highest levels of foreign investment and housing unaffordability. In Auckland 7.3% and Queenstown 9.7% of homes were sold to foreign interests. Wellington, also suffering from housing pressure, had foreign investment rates of just 1.6%. Across Auckland, foreign ownership was also uneven. In central Auckland’s Waitemata Ward, 18.7% or 225 properties were sold to foreign investors. In Franklin, only 1.5% of sales were to overseas interests. Perhaps reflecting ethnic and cultural clustering, foreign investment was higher in already ethnically diverse suburbs of North Harbour and North Shore, and Howick, ranging from 8% to 14.3%. A further 10% of properties across the country, were sold to corporates or companies of unknown origin.

Of the 33,000 houses sold in New Zealand in the 2018 first quarter, 22,000 were sold to NZ residents, 543 were sold to Chinese investors and a further 480 were sold to Australians. The Government’s proposed OIA amendment exempts Australians under the Closer Economic Relations trade agreement, though it seems that we have more problem with Asian / Chinese investors, rather than those that look like white, middle class Kiwis anyway.

The release of the Statistics NZ figures clarifies the scale of overseas investment (not huge), even while providing little evidence about its effects. Auckland Council Planning Committee chair, Chris Darby, introduced the data on his Facebook page with a provocative post asking how ‘Aucklanders feel about a ‘whopping’ 19% of city-centre and city-fringe homes being ‘snapped up’ by non-resident or non-NZ buyers…”, he said “No longer are the numbers rough estimates, real estate industry biased or political rhetoric lacking evidence, these statistics demand urgent interrogation by government”.

The NZ Herald’s reporting inflated the figures at every link. 18.7% foreign investment in the city centre became ‘almost 20%’, which became one in five for Associate Finance Minister David Parker, ‘vindicating’ Labour’s concerns about people with Chinese sounding names buying properties in Auckland, and the Government’s subsequent fast tracked Overseas Investment Amendment Bill seeking to ban foreign ownership of existing houses.

Minister Parker said ‘the housing market should be a New Zealand market, which shouldn’t be influenced by overseas buyers’. He doesn’t feel the same way about the labour market, or the commodity markets all which leave New Zealand businesses and other interests to sink or swim against the lesser regulated impacts of competition from overseas. For me, housing unaffordability and the privatisation of South Island high country is the problem, not so much the nationality of who’s doing it. The Minister says, additional foreign investment demand leads to a price rise but “how significant an effect in areas at 18%, no-one really knows, but it must be a significant effect”, without any evidence to back up his claim, just conjecture.

The public of New Zealand don’t need encouragement to confirm their views that it’s ‘foreigners’ pricing us out of home ownership. European New Zealander bias is already confirmed by the sight of Asian bidders at auctions, (no matter whether these are resident and/or multi-generational or not), with the perceived impacts driven by hearsay and prejudice. People reacted to Councillor Darby’s Facebook post with comments like ‘Labour better ban these bastards from buying our country’, and ‘foreign ownership is bad, not because it drives prices up, but because it creates social disharmony’.
We should put aside the leap from facts to effects. There’s no evidence of a linear and causal link between a given foreign investment rate and a disproportionate impact. In the scheme of things, 18.7% overseas residential investment in the heart of the country’s biggest city, doesn’t seem too profound. After all, 81.3% was domestic investment. People claim that foreign investment contributes nothing to New Zealand. Carrie Law, the CEO of Chinese investment firm JuWai of course says Chinese investment stimulates the provision of new housing development for Kiwis to buy. But evidence from here and overseas shows that most foreign investors buy properties in a completely different segment of the market to most ordinary buyers, seeking high end properties and new builds, meaning the impact on the wider real estate market is negligible.

Economist Shamubeel Eaqub says overseas investment is essential for housing development of scale, and the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill will ‘make it impossible to build enough rental properties to meet the country’s housing needs’. He says the Bill’s flawed premise that overseas investment is bad because ‘it takes homes away from New Zealanders and drives up prices’ is ‘simplistic’. “No-one knows if “’bad’ foreign investment’ is even a factor in New Zealand’s housing crisis’. He notes that there’s little empirical evidence either way, but that impacts are trivial, with development costs a more important determinant. ‘The housing market is a complex ecosystem impacted by a variety of domestic and global factors, with labour, financial and housing markets linked’.

Research from other economists found that people not leaving New Zealand, internal Kiwi migration, natural population increase, strong domestic economic growth and domestic speculation, have bigger impacts than foreign ownership. Income growth is clearly insufficient to keep up with house price increases. Other factors driving housing unaffordability include development costs, supply constraints, the absence of a capital gains tax, and negative gearing incentivising speculation and disproportionate investment in housing relative to other more productive sectors of the economy.
Speculation, ghost houses, the concentration of home ownership in the hands of the few, are concerns for aspiring home owners, and the economy, no matter who owns the housing stock. Locking up South Island lakesides as high country is privatised, is a national shame whoever ultimately owns it. Focusing on the origin or physical characteristics of some of those investors incites nationalism. It does us a disservice and avoids dealing with capital tax exemptions and low wages, more tangible sources of house price inflation and unaffordability.

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31 Comments

  1. Castro says:

    Except, Christine, you’re not including residents (foreigners) or international students (foreigners), are you? Hardly a ban on foreign buyers or anything like an accurate number in terms of the proportion of “foreign” buyers 🙂 Gary Lin.

  2. David Stone says:

    Particularising any national group of buyers distorts the problem and it’s causes on both sides of the equation. The mode of Christine’s article tends to support foreign purchase of our housing and farms in the cause of defending a particular nationality of foreign investor, notwithstanding the disclaimer in her introduction.
    The responsibility is most certainly with our previous governments , not with anyone who is simply availing themselves of what is on offer. But one does not have to buy anything to set the price. You just have to be the underbidder. And how many houses are bought by recently granted citizens on behalf of family and friends back home?
    D J S

  3. Z says:

    Question:

    If *only* 3% of all homes sold are brought by foreigners, how many years would it take for half our residental properties to be foreign owned?

    My point is that the overall amount of residential property owned by foreign interests increases as a proportion of the overall housing stock.

  4. Andrew says:

    “Across the country in this year’s first quarter, 3% of house sales were to overseas investors”

    And that 3% would include a host of nationalities, including many kiwi expatriates who are buying a place for when they return home.

    So the racist dog whistle attack by Labour was simply electioneering from the gutter.

    Labour = the racist party (Are you happy with that?)

    Most of that 3% will be rented out so the are adding still adding to the housing stock and easing the rental market.

    • simonm says:

      New Zealand citizens and residents, no matter where they live, are not included in the statistics, so you’re talking complete horseshit. If your mates in National hadn’t opened up the country to plunder from “overseas investors” from a whole host of nations, we wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with.

    • Marc says:

      How do you know most of these homes ‘will be rented out’?

      How do these bought homes (existing ones) ‘add’ to the ‘housing stock’?

      How do you know these foreign or overseas buyers are ‘kiwi expatriates’?

  5. dave brown says:

    Yeah the whole approach is chauvinist hype.
    The solution is not to target foreign investors, but all investors, not merely in housing (land actually) but in all investment.
    And that is a race or nationality blind land tax or even better capital gains tax.
    That should happen as part of a return to graduated taxation, but of course the tax working group cannot enter this forbidden territory.
    The CG tax should be designed to eliminate speculation on rising land values which drives up the property market starving the productive sector in all forms of land use.
    But this government will never seriously challenge the property speculators because they are committed to winning the middle-class vote and don’t want to upset volatile petty bourgeois sentiments (greed).
    We will have to wait on a socialist government backed by the majority working class to bring about such necessary changes.

    • David Stone says:

      Successive governments have become dependant on capital sales to overseas investors to maintain the illusion of a balance of payments equilibrium. Without farm and housing sales, and immigration for those who can pay our true BOP disastrous state of affairs would be impossible to hide.
      A capital gains tax would eliminate many local small businesses , NZ family farmers, and small time providers of rental housing who have always been in the rental business to provide accommodation for a reasonable rent, not the speculators, unless a very complex system were worked out. Not so bad if only collected on sale. Otherwise I agree that speculation on housing should not be profitable for any investor.
      D J S

      • Marc says:

        BS, capital gains tax would hardly ‘eliminate’ any one of those persons or parties, it would simply make life a little harder for some, and they would adjust by calculating that tax into any sales prices.

        And those that are into letting homes for rent income, they would not be hit by CGT unless they eventually sell. Unless they are at the same time speculators, they would not be much affected at all, as honest ordinary landlords.

    • Marc says:

      “We will have to wait on a socialist government backed by the majority working class to bring about such necessary changes.”

      Yeah, right, wait until 2050 perhaps?

  6. John Trezise says:

    The ban on nonresidents buying New Zealand property is necessary in the absence of land taxes and capital gains taxes that would subdue foreign speculators. It is a blunt instrument and needs refining to encourage overseas investment in building affordable housing for New Zealand residents. Even better would be to introduce land taxes to deter residents and nonresidents alike from treating homes as a means of wealth creation.

    • David Stone says:

      Local developers are accessing overseas development finance for city apartments . It doesn’t need to be a foreign developer.
      D J S

  7. John W says:

    The bottom line is Kiwis cannot buy homes. Rich off shore parties can still buy homes by using companies registered in NZ.

    Kiwis own less of NZ each year.

    The bullshit hardly matters nor those spouting it.

  8. Marc says:

    I do not know where Christine gets her figures from, when she writes this:
    “Only a quarter of Kiwis now own their own home, down from a half in 1991. Auckland has an estimated shortfall of about 40,000 homes.”

    Further up she also write this:
    “I’m not a fan of globalisation, or investor capitalism, per se, but I do have an expectation that facts will inform policy and that liberal citizens and politicians will avoid racist dog whistles misleading attention away from real causes of inequality and injustice.”

    This is what media reported early last year:

    ‘Home ownership rates lowest in 66 years according to Statistics NZ’

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11779664

    As at 10 Jan. 2017:

    “Nationwide 63.2 per cent of people today live in their own home – the lowest rate since the 61.2 per cent recorded at the 1951 Census – whereas 33 per cent live in a rental.”

    My conclusion from that:
    So it is NOT ‘a quarter’ of NZers, there were in early 2017 still 63.2 percent living in their OWN home, which may be a house, a unit, an apartment or whatsoever.

    What is of course true is the fact that there is a growing divide between those earning well enough, and/or possessing enough wealth to look after themselves well, and perhaps let ‘rental’ properties for others to live in.

    We also have over 33,000 or so homes in Auckland stand EMPTY, as I heard and read not so long ago.

    I have witnessed over the years, under the Key Regime between 2008 to 2017, how the many ‘professional’ and ‘self employed’ and other rather well off and mostly white and some Asian ‘middle class’ people in Auckland did rather well.

    They bought homes as an investment, some for renting them out, others for speculation and other purposes, some of course for living in them for themselves. They did their renovations, improvements, additions, bought nice new SUVs and other imported, not seldom new cars from Europe, Japan and elsewhere, and they earned well for most of the time.

    Others have dropped on the ladder, further to the bottom, living at meagre incomes, struggling to pay the bills and also rents, and got nowhere much. They drive their run down cars, and live from weak to weak on just above the minimum wage, with no hope to ever own their own homes.

    I do not so much see a shortage in housing as such, it is a shortage for self contained AFFORDABLE housing, that we have, but with so many dwellings standing empty, and many better off living on their own or as small families in rather large dwellings, there appears simply to be a poor distribution of housing for people’s needs, leading to the poor having to live in poor standard and cramped conditions.

    Foreign investors should not be allowed to buy homes here if they do not live here, full stop, unless they may meet some special strict standards.

    Part of the problem we have is that the housing market is now a global market here, which led to prices being adjusted on a global scale, by global demand, which existed. Also have some bought properties as permanent residents, holding non NZ passports, that seems to not have been captured separately.

    How many permanent residents hold more than one property, that would be interesting reading, I think. Some may have investments overseas, have well enough off relatives, who help local residents expand portfolios, there are always many things happening that the statistical figure gatherers have failed to capture.

    Hence we need more data, still need more controls, so that the local market caters for the local people, without aberrations caused by overseas investors or them and their local resident collaborators, even though their number may appear small so far.

    We definitely need more STATE and SOCIAL housing, and that is where the focus should really lie. Bring more housing on stream and onto the market, and the prices must adjust, also while immigration must be restricted to people that are really and truly urgently needed here, with skills and so, not simply baristas and checkout operators at supermarkets.

    • Marc says:

      “They drive their run down cars, and live from week to week on just above the minimum wage, with no hope to ever own their own homes.”

      That is what one sentence should read, sorry for the typo.

      Problem is, we have turned the NZ housing market into a GLOBAL market, having allowed non residents and non citizens buy residential properties here. On that GLOBAL market are always many with enough cash and access to easier credit, who look for nicer pastures to ‘invest’, and get a foot into the door.

      That is what happened, and even though the numbers may appear small, that bit of interference, while also having well cashed up NZers come back from their overseas employment activities, wanting new homes, has distorted the market.

      NZers do in their majority not earn the amount of money that some of these people coming from overseas can bring in, hence controls are needed, and they are NOT based on RACE!

    • Christine Rose says:

      Here’s where those figures came from, slightly out of date now as you observe, so home ownership rates have dropped even more since then, confirming the point really.
      https://theconversation.com/foreign-ownership-of-housing-how-do-australia-and-new-zealand-compare-87089

      I’m no advocate for foreign ownership, but it’s a symptom of a real estate market and economic system which is largely going unchecked. There is not enough evidence to show how this is the priority problem driving up house prices to justify the Bill, while ignoring other speculative pressures.
      How many of those 63% privately owned homes are held by New Zealanders who own more than one or two? Asian investors are an easy target when existing home owners with plenty of equity can buy ever more houses, adding to NZ’s debt and preventing new homeowners from entering the market.

      • Marc says:

        Yeah, under 40 years of age, that is what it says there. So it should read:

        “Only a quarter of Kiwis (adults under 40 years) now own their own home, down from a half in 1991.”

        You omitted an important piece of information, I note.

  9. Marc says:

    Are these figures by Statistics NZ different to the figures that were released under National and the criteria they had set for ‘foreign investment’ property purchases?

    Those statistics were criticised as being dodgy by Labour before the elections, I remember.

    This article suggests the new figures are provided under a new criteria, but they are still not perfectly reliable:

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11636711

    ” Officials warned that there were some limitations to the data and it was not an authoritative guide to the level of foreign investment in New Zealand’s residential property.”

    “The data was not complete. Around 10 per cent of sales across the country involved buyers who did not need to disclose tax information because their sale and purchase agreement was signed before the law came into force before October – when new disclosure requirements came into force.”

    ” Of the remaining house sales, 50 per cent were bought by buyers with New Zealand tax residency.

    Another 37 per cent involved buyers who did not need to disclose tax information – mostly New Zealand citizens or residents who were buying their main home.

    The data has been collected since October, but LINZ chief executive Peter Mersi said the organisation was not confident in the first three months of information.

    At a press conference this afternoon, Mr Mersi stressed that the information was not a register of foreign ownership.

    “That’s because tax residency is not the same as nationality. For example, a New Zealander living and paying tax in the UK who bought a house in New Zealand would be included in this information as having overseas tax residency.””

    So early days yet, later figures may reveal a better picture, and some more data may need to be captured anyway, than what this shows us.

  10. aircooledguy says:

    Maybe you have your own narrow view. In localised areas where overseas investors are present at levels of up to 18% this does have an impact on prices, this then leads to locals moving further out and applying price presuure to those areas. The situation today is in no way reflective of the situation 12 months ago when all anecdotal evidence pointed to higher levels of overseas investment. there is also the 10% of unknown investors and you can be sure these are not buying a house in Taupiri.Please see overseas investment in housing for what is is a pressssure on local prices, upwards

  11. Aaron says:

    I couldn’t care less if people are racially motivated if working with them could lead to regulations controlling the flow of money.

    Prior to neoliberalism regulations stopped money flowing easily from country to country as part of a regulatory framework that prevented economic crashes successfully for several decades. We all know what happened since those regulations disappeared.

    There is a large group of people out there ready to help force these regulations into place and we on the left are too snooty to deal with them because we think we’re too good to associate with people who are racists.

    Let’s be clear that by doing this we’re creating an out-group (racist people) in exactly the same way that they are creating a out group (people of a different race). The desire to have an out-group comes from the same base urge in both cases but it’s the left who are behaving like judgemental wankers while at the same time ruining our chance of doing something about a very real problem.

    It’s got to the point where where lefties can’t even state the problem anymore for fear of being accused of racism so let’s be clear again: The reality is that there ARE a lot of wealthy Chinese people looking to invest here and I for one, am pretty keen to stop it from happening – as I would like to stop wealthy foreigners from every countries from doing that. In fact I’d like to stop wealthy people from THIS country treating our housing stock as an investment opportunity but lets deal with this one problem at a time.

    After we’ve dealt with foreign home buyers lets use the connections we’ve made with other sectors of the community to get a financial transactions tax in place or maybe to stop local wealthy investors ruining the market. Who knows, we might be able to build a mass movement.

    First of all though, we have to stop being such a bunch of snobs

  12. Sam Sam says:

    Guess I never told any one how I weaselled my way out of my mortgage, this turn around story is not for the faint hearted and I don’t recommend any one else do it. But anyway. So I smashed the roof because I new there are no roof tilers in my area and got the bank manager to foreclose on it then bought it back for pennies on the dollar at auction. But the point is you can buy back loans in the form of bonds and the bond auction markets labeled AAA down to BB, each with a progressively falling value, buy the worthless bonds and the shrink the principled value to a more manageable level.

    So if you’ve got a really good idea you can still make money even if the execution is a little off.

  13. roy cartland says:

    If they want to make the point, they should use the term “non-residents” rather than “foreigners”. That would catch the bastards like Theil, Schwartznegger and co who use us a a money-parking dump. (And no, Theil is not a resident as he explicitly indicated.)

  14. simonm says:

    Don’t be ridiculous. If you’re not a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident exercising your right to live in New Zealand, there is absolutely no reason for you to own residential property here.

    There’s nothing at all racist about restricting property rights to the citizens of that country – that’s why so many countries, especially in Asia, adhere strictly to this policy.

    For years we’ve been hearing from the country’s slimiest creeps, real estate agents, that “overseas investors” have a minimal impact on the New Zealand housing market. Now they’re claiming we can’t live without them. Both of these statements cannot be true!

    Every house bought by a foreign investor who doesn’t even live here (and we don’t even know the true number because houses bought by international students and companies aren’t included in the statistics) should be available for New Zealand citizens and residents to live in, especially since we are experiencing an acute housing crisis.

  15. Tamati Tautuhi says:

    So most of the buying is still NZ residents, Twyford barking at car tyres again ?

  16. cleangreen says:

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/103954272/Budget-2018-No-payday-yet-for-RNZ-from-Labour-Budget

    quote from this article above;

    “A promised funding boost for RNZ was the centrepiece of Labour’s broadcasting policy during last year’s election, but it will have to wait.
    RNZ will have to wait longer to find out whether it will get a funding boost and how much that will be.
    However, Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran said the Government was still committed to increasing annual funding for public media by at least $38 million during its first term.
    The Government disappointed lobby group Better Public Media by setting aside only $15m in the Budget this year to pay for initiatives “to support the contribution of public media to an informed democracy”.
    Curran said it had not been possible for the Government to do everything it wanted in one budget.
    A decision is expected within weeks on how much of the $15m might go to RNZ, and how much might be allocated to other media companies for other initiatives through NZ On Air.”

    Clare Curran needs to be removed now from her Broadcasting portfolio as she is irresponsible and is damaging the government now.

    Curran has harmed labour, for all the loss of labour policy of presenting a fair free independent platform for the public to hear and respond to ant issues yet as the other media portals are not giving us public any coverage on any TV networks and only region newspapers are giving us any coverage but RNZ or no other TV networks are giving us our public voice so far in the first year of the new government operation of the media.

    Labour have truly missed the chance to give us a fair free independent news and current affairs public media yet so their issues are not being aired in a fair manner still because RNZ is run by National and the rest of the media are owned by corporations so labour have not given us their promised “fair, free independent public media as they promised last year.

    RNZ is effectively “a propaganda machine for the national Party” and has their own CEO Paul Thompson in 2013 who is still running this publicly funded and biased media portal.

    https://www.noted.co.nz/money/business/paul-thompson-radio-head/

  17. Tamati Tautuhi says:

    Is Twyford just picking the low hanging fruit ?

  18. Nukefacts says:

    This is fundamentally not an immigration issue, it’s a sovereignty and economic issue.

    1. Sovereignty: we are not in any way obligated to allow anyone who is not a citizen, to buy property in NZ. Why the hell would we? Almost no other countries do this. This is our country, so we get to choose who we let in.

    Christine seems to come from the more ‘internationalist’ leftist tradition with admirable aims to be open and inclusive. That’s fine for middle class white people who can move around the world and work anywhere, but what about the huge and growing numbers of precariat and youth in NZ trying to find a sustainable job when companies like Ritchies are trying to re-classify the most basic jobs like bus driver as ‘essential immigrants’ to bring in cheaper foreign labour and do locals out of a job. Ever wonder why populists like Trump are successful?

    2. Economics: the marginal impact of even a few percent of houses going to wealthy overseas buyers is to drive up ALL house prices. Doesn’t matter if they’re semi-deranged pseudo fascists from the US like Peter Thiel, wealthy Canadians or Japanese looking to make some easy money, or Chinese donor’s to the National party like Donghau Liu looking to stash their stolen money in NZ.

    Now I really really really dislike most economists as they don’t live in the real world, but this is a simple economic calculation. Even only 3% foreigners buying property at the top end of a market will force the local buyers down into the next property tier and so on and so on, until the overall market is driven up. This is why Real Estate agents love foreign buyers in our market – they directly profit! And you also have to then add the massive yearly influx of so-called essential skills migrants becoming citizens and needing houses pushing values up from the bottom/middle end, you get a massively overheated property market.

    Please left-wingers, stop arguing / supporting something that is inherently unnecessary, destabilising to NZ, and impoverishing the poor and middle class NZ’ers.

  19. nukefacts says:

    This is fundamentally not an immigration issue, it’s a sovereignty and economic issue.

    1. Sovereignty: we are not in any way obligated to allow anyone who is not a citizen, to buy property in NZ. Why the hell would we? Almost no other countries do this. This is our country, so we get to choose who we let in.

    Christine seems to come from the more ‘internationalist’ leftist tradition with admirable aims to be open and inclusive. That’s fine for middle class white people who can move around the world and work anywhere, but what about the huge and growing numbers of precariat and youth in NZ trying to find a sustainable job when companies like Ritchies are trying to re-classify the most basic jobs like bus driver as ‘essential immigrants’ to bring in cheaper foreign labour and do locals out of a job. Ever wonder why populists like Trump are successful?

    2. Economics: the marginal impact of even a few percent of houses going to wealthy overseas buyers is to drive up ALL house prices. Doesn’t matter if they’re semi-deranged pseudo fascists from the US like Peter Thiel, wealthy Canadians or Japanese looking to make some easy money, or Chinese donor’s to the National party like Donghau Liu looking to stash their stolen money in NZ.

    Now I really really really dislike most economists as they don’t live in the real world, but this is a simple economic calculation. Even only 3% foreigners buying property at the top end of a market will force the local buyers down into the next property tier and so on and so on, until the overall market is driven up. This is why Real Estate agents love foreign buyers in our market – they directly profit! And you also have to then add the massive yearly influx of so-called essential skills migrants becoming citizens and needing houses pushing values up from the bottom/middle end, you get a massively overheated property market.

    Please left-wingers, stop arguing / supporting something that is inherently unnecessary, destabilising to NZ, and impoverishing the poor and middle class NZ’ers.

  20. Tamati Tautuhi says:

    Hopefully these Housing WOF’s will help tidy up some of the rats nests that people are having to live in around the country ?

  21. Jay Kline says:

    There is no economic benefit in trading NZ residential houses on international market except providing big profits to speculators. One question, does China allows overseas investors to buy residential property in China?

    • Marc says:

      NO, China, like many other smarter countries with smarter governments does not do so, NZ Inc thought under Douglas, Prebble et al, selling your body gets you somewhere eventually, hence they were in the end also happy to legalise prostitution, as they could well identify with that.

      There is always some ‘customer’ ready to pay a nice fee or so, for pleasure and privilege, and so it went for NZ Inc after 1984 and certainly after 1986.

      The price you pay may though lead to much emotional, psychological and even physical ‘damage’, that can never be remedied.

      The rush to make compromises, give up all tariffs and duties and rules, inviting the willing rapists, and pillagers, hoping for the best, that is what has led to where we are now, and the price we pay will be paid by following generations to come.

      Residential housing was only one of the last ‘commodities’ that were on offer, so it happened.

      We have an import ‘income’, on which we depend, we have less and less of our own ‘body’ that we still own, and that is still intact or healthy, tourism will do the rest, look at other ruined places on the planet.