Luxury retirement village in Queenstown fast tracked through one of the Govt's Special Housing Areas

The tourist mecca is struggling to provide affordable accommodation for would-be homeowners. Source: 1 NEWS

Foreign buyer ban to impact Kiwi house prices and squeeze more Kiwis out of apartment market - Westpac economist

The Government's upcoming foreign buyer ban will "clearly" impact Auckland and Queenstown house prices and may squeeze locals out of the apartment market, a Westpac economist says.

The bank's chief economist Dominick Stephens told the NZ Herald today that the market may react in a similar way to Toronto, Canada, when a stamp duty on foreign buyers was introduced.

"Toronto house prices fell around 5 per cent soon afterward," Mr Stephens said.

However, he believes that prices in Auckland and Queenstown are unlikely to fall as much as those in Toronto due to the "watered down" nature of New Zealand's foreign buyer ban.

The main reason for this is that the ban still allows Singaporeans and Australians to buy Kiwi homes and other nationalities can buy 60 per cent of apartments available in complexes with 20 units or more.

Mr Stephens told the NZ Herald this may lead to more foreign buyers in the apartment market, effectively squeezing Kiwis out.

We discuss how changes to foreign buyers legislation will impact homebuyers. Source: 1 NEWS

The economist says the areas that would feel most impact from the ban will be the North Shore, Central City, Howick and Henderson, Massey districts in Auckland and the Queenstown Lakes District.

"These are the places in which foreign buyers account for more than 5 per cent of sales at present."

In terms of the overall market, Westpac thinks house prices will decline at a modest rate in New Zealand over the next few years.

"This is because the New Zealand housing market faces a menagerie of negative forces, including tax changes, slowing population growth and the foreign buyer ban," Mr Stephens said. 

Phil Twyford says the new legislation will not affect genuine migrants, and is designed to dampen speculation when the housing market picks up again. Source: Breakfast

Should mānuka honey standards be more strictly regulated in NZ? Consultation closes today

Public consultation on the new standards for mānuka honey closes today.

Since February, all mānuka honey exported from New Zealand has had to meet scientific tests to ensure it's authentic.

Those standards were created in the wake of concerns from international trading partners about the authenticity of New Zealand mānuka honey.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) believes a significant amount of honey is sold as mānuka, with prices ranging from $12 per kilogram to over $140 per kilogram.

MPI wants to protect the industry from counterfeit product, but producers say the DNA test isn't working. Source: 1 NEWS

The test implemented earlier this year involves looking for five markers, four of those chemical and one DNA.

MPI is now considering whether honey sold in the domestic market should meet those strict standards too.

They've released a consultation document which looks at the current system, and assesses whether a voluntary or mandatory testing would work best.

Problems with MPI's testing of Manuka honey is worrying Kiwi producers who don't want to lose reputations. Source: 1 NEWS

The deadline for public feedback closes at 5pm.

You can have your say here.

The Ministry of Primary Industries has today announced a chemical and DNA definition for Manuka honey, to protect its trade reputation overseas. Source: 1 NEWS


Pill testing push in Australia after two drug deaths at Sydney music festival

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is being asked to introduce pill testing at major events rather than follow through on her promise to shut down a dance festival after a spate of serious drug overdoses.

Two people died and three remain critical suspected drug overdoses at dance festival Defqon.1 in Sydney on Saturday.

Hundreds more sought medical treatment during the celebrations and Ms Berejiklian says she will shut down the festival.

"Of course I want young people to have fun at these festivals, but this particular one has had a bad safety record and now we have had yet another night of terrible tragedy," she said on Twitter on Sunday.

"I want to send the strongest message to event organisers. More needs to be done to address the serious drug culture at these events."

Her social media account was quickly inundated by dozens of calls for new drug strategies, chiefly pill testing.

"How about you engender real change?" one person wrote.

"Drug reform and legalised pill testing. Prohibition has failed and continues to kill."

"Shocking is 2 Sydney kids on mortuary slabs when Canberra kids had their pills tested and are still alive," another wrote, in reference to the ACT's use of pill testing at a music festival earlier this year.

Their comments echoed calls from Greens MP David Shoebridge, who called for festivals to introduce pill testing, amnesty bins and other harm minimisation measures.

Weekend's most read: Noisy street racers disrupting terminally ill Timaru hospice patients' final days

This story was first published on Saturday September 16.

Timaru’s Hospice is pleading for quiet and some respect after noisy night time drivers have been disturbing their terminally ill patients.

Timaru’s Hospice is pleading for quiet and respect for their patients. Source: 1 NEWS

After a long battle with throat cancer Charles Roebuck’s been given just days to live, but he says his final nights are being disrupted by street racers speeding down the road around the Hospice.

“Here I am quietly getting some rest and next thing this is a race-strip,” Hospice patient Charles Roebuck told 1 NEWS.

He’s not the first patient to complain about the disruption.

“We thank him very much for raising this issue of the traffic around Hospice, because we work here and we’re not as conscious often as the patients are,” says Hospice South Canterbury general manager Peter O’Neill.

Hospice staff are asking driver for a little consideration for their patients.

"To think that is might be one of their relatives one day or one of their friends and just that due respect for common decency I suppose," says Mr O’Neill.

Mr Roebuck has even written a letter to the Timaru District Council with his concerns.

“This place is soundproofed, I mean it's got double glazing, but with those cars zapping backwards and forwards."

The council says they’ve only just become aware of the issue and are now looking at options for putting up signs to encourage people to slow down.