Billionaires slam restrictions on foreign ownership

Will Labour’s new restrictions sever cooperation with wealthy investors?

Billionaires slam restrictions on foreign ownership

by Ksenia Stepanova

Banning sales of New Zealand property to foreigners will turn away wealthy investors and cut off a much-needed supply of resources, according to Californian billionaire Ric Kayne.

Wealthy overseas investors have slammed the controversial move to restrict foreign ownership, claiming it will damage the nation’s reputation and turn away those who, “having discovered this country, want to devote considerable resources to preserving, protecting and enhancing it.”

This statement follows a bid by the Labour government to ban foreign ownership of New Zealand property, a trend which has led to property prices skyrocketing and many first-time buyers being priced out of the market. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters announced in October 2017 that “New Zealand is no longer for sale in the way it has been. We are happy with that.” Finance minister Grant Robertson added that “it is important that we sort our housing market out, and give New Zealanders a fair go at buying their first home.” He claimed that New Zealand welcomes foreign investment, but needs to focus on “good-quality investment” outside of the housing market.

House prices have increased over 60% since last year, with the median price of an Auckland property being recorded at $830,000 in July 2017.

Kayne, who is a developer of the luxury Tara Iti Golf Club, says the development creates jobs and attracts a valuable amount of high net-worth customers.

“It is essential for the economic outcome of the development that these properties are able to be sold to an international purchaser pool,” Kayne wrote in his submission to a parliamentary committee. “I would hope that amendments are made which provide some discretion and flexibility for persons like me.”

Related stories: