22 Dec 2017

Bill to stop foreigners buying houses passes first reading

6:30 pm on 22 December 2017

The government's bill to stop foreigners buying houses has passed its first reading in Parliament.

Attorney General David Parker makes a ministerial statement in the House on the report of the Havelock North Drinking Water Inquiry.

The bill passed its first reading in Parliament today. Photo: VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox

The bill reclassifies residential land as sensitive land under the Overseas Investment Act.

It means overseas buyers will not be able to buy homes unless they are building new ones on the land as well, although Australians are exempt, and Singaporeans may be too.

Economic Development Minister David Parker told Parliament the Government had a duty to act and protect its citizens from foreigners who were just accumulating wealth in the New Zealand housing market.

"The changes that we will make will ensure that more New Zealanders own their own home and that, over time, fewer Kiwis pay rent to overseas landlords," Mr Parker told Parliament.

The bill passed it first reading 63 votes to 57, with National and Act opposed.

There will be a shortened select committee process, because the Government said the ban must be in place before the new Trans Pacific Partnership comes into effect.