3 Dec 2014

Crackdown on foreign buyers urged

5:56 pm on 3 December 2014

The Labour Party is calling on the Government to follow Australia's lead and crack down on overseas speculators driving up house prices.

Andrew Little

Andrew Little Photo: RNZ / Lauren Baker

A report by the Australian Parliament has recommended setting up a register to record the citizenship and residence of home buyers.

Labour leader Andrew Little said today if Prime Minister John Key was serious about tackling the housing crisis, he should do the same.

Mr Little believed people should only be able to buy a house in New Zealand if they also wanted to live there.

He said the Government has refused to admit there is a problem and would not collect data on foreign house sales.

"We know there is a problem, it's quite clear there is a problem. They've just chosen to do nothing about it. There is something they can do: Australians have led the way - let's please try and do something and help first time Kiwi buyers here."

But Prime Minister John Key said today that a register was not his number one focus of attention.

"Whether we would one day, I can't 100 percent rule that out. But really, our big focus of attention is fixing the supply side. I think the register - it's always fraught with dangers - I mean, you could potentially do it but, for instance, what happens when you have partial ownership, owned through another structure - how do you keep it up to date? There's lots of pitfalls."

Mr Key said figures kept by Inland Revenue showed there had been no dramatic increase in foreign buyers.

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