6 Dec 2013

MPs to debate bill limiting land sales

7:13 am on 6 December 2013

The Labour Party is hoping for strong support across Parliament for its member's bill cracking down on the sale of rural land to foreign buyers.

The Overseas Investment (Owning Our Own Rural Land) Amendment Bill, in the name of Labour MP Phil Goff, has been pulled from the ballot to be debated by Parliament.

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Photo: PHOTO NZ

It would require overseas buyers to prove they could produce benefits over and above that which a New Zealand buyer could deliver, for example substantial job creation or an increase in exports.

Mr Goff said the aim of the legislation is to cut out the speculator or person with no expertise. "They add nothing except to the inflation of land prices and the profits they can take out of New Zealand."

He said the current law does give government ministers the discretion to turn down foreign applications, but that discretion is not exercised as often as it should be.

Greens' co-leader Russel Norman is throwing his support behind the bill and Mana Party leader Hone Harawira is also promising his vote.

New Zealand First and the Maori Party are reserving their judgement until they've had more time to consider the bill - but Labour is confident they'll come to the party.

Mr Goff concedes he's unlikely to get support from either National or ACT, in which case, the deciding vote may come down to United Future's Peter Dunne who says he has yet to make up his mind.