20 Jul 2015

PM dismisses Labour's housing claims

12:44 pm on 20 July 2015

Prime Minister John Key says most of those with Chinese-sounding names investing in the Auckland housing market will be people with a genuine connection to New Zealand.

John Key during caucus run 23/06/2015

John Key Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The Labour Party last week released figures showing as many as 40 percent of people buying homes in Auckland over a three month period had Chinese-sounding names.

Mr Key told Morning Report the move by Labour was desperate and contradicted its traditional stance of welcoming the Asian community.

He doubted the figures were an accurate reflection of the level of Chinese interest in New Zealand housing.

"Not that many people get up in the morning who live in Guangzhou, and say randomly 'I'm going to buy a house in Auckland', with no connection to the country at all.

"There'll be some, some people on that list will definitely be, in my view, as mere speculation, will have no connection to New Zealand but not very many."

The Prime Minister said Labour's use of the information was a "desperate" move, and it knew it was misleading.

"They will know that people on that list, the vast bulk of them, who have Chinese surnames will be the residents or citizens, many of whom Labour will have welcomed to this country."

Mr Key said Labour had strayed from its traditional stance and become a very different party to the one he used to know.

The Government was compiling information on non-resident investment in the housing market, he said.

"I have always said, if the data shows that there's a real problem and we need to consider further steps then the Government will consider those further steps."

He said Australia's move to stop foreigners buying anything other than new properties had not been effective in curbing rapid house price rises.

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