NZ shuts door on home sales to overseas buyers

The move to tackle soaring property prices was agreed between Labour leader Jacinda Ardern and NZ First's Winston Peters.
The move to tackle soaring property prices was agreed between Labour leader Jacinda Ardern and NZ First's Winston Peters.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

WELLINGTON • Overseas buyers will no longer be allowed to buy existing homes in New Zealand, Prime Minister-elect Jacinda Ardern said yesterday, as she unveiled a raft of policy deals made with her coalition partners.

The move to tackle soaring property prices was agreed during lengthy negotiations between the Labour Party leader and populist powerbroker Winston Peters to form a new government that also includes the Green Party.

Ms Ardern, 37, announced plans to slash immigration and focus on regional development and job creation. "We have agreed on banning the purchase of existing homes by foreign buyers," she said, specifying that the new rules only applied to non-residents.

"(We) also have plans around farmland and other critical infrastructure," she added.

Anti-immigration campaigner Mr Peters, whose support was crucial for Ms Ardern to form a ruling coalition in the 120-seat Parliament, said a message has been sent that New Zealand was "no longer for sale".

The New Zealand First (NZF) leader - set to be deputy PM and foreign minister in the new government - ended weeks of negotiations when he confirmed last week he would use his party's nine seats to ensure a Labour, NZF and Green coalition with a three-seat majority.

The curbs against foreign real estate speculation are also part of a push for Ms Ardern to renegotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

SHUTTING THE DOOR ON FOREIGNERS

We have agreed on banning the purchase of existing homes by foreign buyers... (We) also have plans around farmland and other critical infrastructure.

PRIME MINISTER-ELECT JACINDA ARDERN

Japan will next week host the latest round of negotiations for the 11 nations remaining in the TPP.

Japan hopes to finalise the deal next month to show other nations that it can act as a champion of free trade, but there is a risk that talks could stall if New Zealand's new government is not satisfied with the details of the pact.

"We hope these talks will allow us to take a step further toward reaching an agreement," Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said. The 11 TPP members had set a goal of reaching broad agreement on the pact next month at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting to be held in Danang, Vietnam.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2017, with the headline 'NZ shuts door on home sales to overseas buyers'. Print Edition | Subscribe