May 01, 2016
Housing flip flop
Housing flip flop
It wasn’t the best 7 days for John Key who flip flopped on housing at the start of the week and was escorted into the weekend with front page news that his lawyer has been mysteriously caught up in the Panama foreign trust debacle.
It was revealed the Prime Minister’s personal lawyer Ken Whitney, the executive director of boutique trust specialist Antipodes, wrote to then-Minister for Revenue Todd McClay in December 2014, over concerns Inland Revenue were sizing up the sector.
This in reality is a beat up and Key will survive because Minister’s are lobbied every day. The link between Key and Whitney on this issue, while it makes a good headline, is actually tenuous to say the least.
But flip flopping on overseas investors who are supposedly buying the Auckland housing market, and thereby making it impossible for Kiwi kids to afford to buy homes, might take more moves than the Warriors put on against Melbourne to wriggle out of.
Labour Housing spokesman Phil Twyford who has feasted on the Government’s Housing crisis and inconsistencies, was quick to retaliate.
Twyford said Key has spent three years denying that foreign speculators are pushing up house prices, but now that he knows new data is about to prove him wrong, he’s softening the ground for a land tax.
This latest plans by Key who hinted a land tax on a non-residential is fraught with danger and cynicism.
Adding a maximum of around $20k on to an already outrageously inflated Auckland property market will do little to stop overseas investors.
According to statistics from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, there were 32,000 houses sold in Auckland in the year to March.
If, according to the NZ Herald report 5% were sold to non-resident investors that would ring fence 1600 homes that would have been sold to this group. That’s a small part of the 32,000 homes sold.
Twyford said slapping a non-residential tax on overseas investors was ludicrous and would do little to support young New Zealanders into their first homes.
Under a Labour government, it would build 100,000 homes for first home buyers. He said the Government’s threshold of $450,000-$500K as affordable housing was also outrageous and out of the reach of average Kiwis.
But there was relatively good news when it was announced that Ngati Whatua will develop 400 new homes in Hobsonville with a portion of those affordable homes.
What was not good was the frank admission by the tribe that the homes are likely to be out of range of any Ngati Whatua beneficiaries. That is a real dilemma for a tribe who I am sure are dedicated to turning around their people’s lives.
Treaty settlements are meant to make a difference and tribes have copped a lot of criticism for not being able to translate settlements into tangible benefits for tribal members. So it will be a real irony when Ngati Whatua develop these homes with the settlement money they have and everyone but their Maori constituents move in, yes that should be very interesting.
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