Foreign speculators will no longer be able to buy houses in New Zealand from early next year.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the government is determined to make it easier for Kiwis to buy their first home.
“So we are stopping foreign speculators buying houses and driving up prices. Kiwis should not be outbid like this.
“That is why we are introducing an amendment to the Overseas Investment Act to classify residential housing as “sensitive”. This means non-residents or non-citizens cannot purchase existing residential dwellings.”
Australians will be exempt from the policy, as New Zealanders are in Australia.
“We expect legislation to be introduced before Christmas and take effect immediately once passed early in 2018. This will fulfil one of our key 100 Day Plan pledges,” says Jacinda.
“The previous National government chose to put foreign speculators ahead of Kiwi families, but we have chosen to protect Kiwi families and New Zealand's best interests.
“That government claimed this could not done without breaching other free trade agreements and that a stamp duty would be the only effective tool.
“The advice we have had from officials is that we can give effect to the ban by a simple amendment to the Overseas Investment Act without breaching any agreement except the Singapore Closer Economic Partnership. The options with Singapore will be worked through.
“The proposed change means we can move our focus away from land issues at the negotiating table at APEC when negotiations on the TPP reach their final stages, and focus on Investor State Dispute Settlement clauses.
“We are concerned by ISDS clauses in the proposed agreement. These confer greater rights on multi-national companies investing in New Zealand than a New Zealand company has.
“We remain determined to do our utmost to amend the ISDS provisions of TPP. In addition, Cabinet has today instructed trade negotiation officials to oppose ISDS in any future free trade agreements.
The policy change is supported by all parties involved in the government.
“New Zealanders should be assured that the government I lead will have their best interests at heart when negotiating any free trade agreements,” says Jacinda.