Labour housing policy viewed as racist
Updated at 10:04 pm on 29 July 2013
Labour's political opponents say its promise to crack down on overseas investors buying houses in New Zealand is desperate, xenophobic and racist.
The party said on Sunday that if elected, it would try to drive down house prices by barring non-residents from buying existing houses, flats or apartments.
Vacant land could be purchased only if buyers committed to building a house on it. Australians would be exempt due to a reciprocal deal.
But Housing Minister Nick Smith said on Monday there is no evidence to suggest that foreign ownership has any effect at all on house prices and the policy is a desperate ploy to win votes.
ACT said the policy is racist, anti-investment and anti-Chinese. It said high house prices are caused by lack of land supply - not foreigners buying property.
The Greens and New Zealand First support the policy and said it would make houses more affordable.
Shearer defends policy
Labour leader David Shearer said the policy is just one of many ways to bring house prices down.
He told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme that combined with a capital gains tax, the policy would help bring down housing demand and therefore prices.
Mr Shearer said the policy is not xenophobic because Asian countries have introduced similar policies.
Former Labour Party president Mike Williams said it is used throughout the world as a way to curb rising house prices.
Next story in Political: Fewer voters switch to Maori roll
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand