Although the New Zealand government has rejected claims that offshore investment is fuelling price increases, there have been calls for public debate on the issue.

Foreign property ownership is big news in New Zealand at the moment, and while politicians from the two main camps wade into the fray, the Labour faction stands by their statement that almost 40% of residential property buyers in the first four months of 2015 were Chinese.

The data collected from a leaked Auckland real estate website report indicated that just under half of the buyers had Chinese surnames, despite the fact that Chinese-New Zealand residents make up only 9% of Auckland’s population.

Labour Party’s Phil Twyford says large-scale real-estate investment from Chinese nationals in Auckland has helped drive the city’s 29% year-on-year price growth. He is quick to point out that Labour was referring to offshore investors and weren’t pointing fingers at Chinese-New Zealanders who are residents in the country.

National Party MP Nick Smith has dismissed the claims outright, labelling Twyford a racist.

While the politicians argue, the Government has instituted new residential property laws from 1 October. These dictate that non-residents have to open bank accounts in New Zealand, obtain an IRD (tax number) and declare their home country’s tax details.

 

Words: Lea Jacobs