12 Sep 2017

Labour pushes for foreign buyer ban in South Korean FTA

8:22 pm on 12 September 2017

Labour will renegotiate a free trade agreement with South Korea to stop foreign buyers purchasing existing homes, Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern says.

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Labour leader Jacinda Ardern says other countries have retained the right to stop foreign buyers. Photo: RNZ

The New Zealand-South Korea Free Trade Agreement was signed two years ago, after five years of negotiation.

Ms Ardern said South Korea and Australia had both retained the right to stop foreign buyers and New Zealand should too.

"I do know the importance of that deal to New Zealand, but I also know the importance of us being able to maintain our right to try and cool the housing market ... and increase home ownership rates."

But National's trade spokesperson Todd McClay said Ms Ardern's comments were "reckless" and "deeply concerning".

"There will be companies all up and down New Zealand that sell up to $4 billion worth of goods and services into South Korea that will be very worried about this.

"If Labour are saying they want to renegotiate this they're creating uncertainty and putting jobs at risk," Mr McClay said.

Mr McClay said Labour's plan sent the wrong signal to the country's trading partners and ripping up its deal with South Korea could also put the free trade deal with China at risk.