A bill to implement the Government's policy of banning overseas buyers of existing homes has passed its third and final reading in Parliament.
Associate Finance Minister David Parker says it's a significant milestone and demonstrates the Government’s commitment to making the dream of home ownership a reality for more New Zealanders.
“This Government believes that New Zealanders should not be outbid by wealthier foreign buyers. Whether it’s a beautiful lakeside or oceanfront estate, or a modest suburban house, this law ensures that the market for our homes is set in New Zealand not on the international market,” Mr Parker said.
He said the National Party opposed the change at every turn, while arguing the wealthiest buyers from overseas who don’t live here and don’t pay tax here should be exempt.
"That is not a view shared by the overwhelming majority of New Zealanders."
“The Opposition also told New Zealanders they had to choose between trade deals like CPTPP and control over ownership of our land and homes. We have proved them wrong again.
“We needed to pass this law before the CPTPP takes effect, to preserve the right of future governments to loosen or tighten the rules. But they will have to do it openly, through Parliament," he said.
The ban on foreign buyers will work alongside the Government’s programme to remedy New Zealand’s housing shortage and address the declining rate of home ownership, Mr Parker said.
That programme includes KiwiBuild, more social housing and the Urban Growth Agenda, he said.
“This law will support investment in new homes, particularly apartments and homes available to purchase under innovative new models, which will help more New Zealanders achieve the Kiwi dream of home ownership,” Mr Parker said.
The bill also supports business investment as it includes a streamlined approval process for the purchase of residential land for commercial purposes, whether they be supermarkets, hotels, or family-run dairies, he said.
The bill also encourages foreign direct investment in forestry, where it is crucially needed, and puts in place a light-handed and more consistent screening test for forestry rights alongside that for freehold and leasehold forests, Mr Parker said.
Some provisions critical to the operation of the new regime will start immediately following Royal assent, with the new screening requirements commencing within two months of Royal assent.