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Mike's Minute: NZ needs offshore buying

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tue, 18 Jun 2024, 10:17am

Mike's Minute: NZ needs offshore buying

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tue, 18 Jun 2024, 10:17am

If a mistake was made during the coalition talks by National it was acquiescing to the NZ First demand that they keep people from offshore buying houses here. 

National had an elegant solution; anything under a couple of million was out of bounds, leaving that market for first home buyers. 

Then, the big end of town was open to the open market. 

Not only was it a mistake, for no real gain, it comes as somewhat ironic that the Prime Minister, quite rightly, is working as hard as any Prime Minister I have seen. He's running up hundreds of thousands of kilometres around the world spruiking our openness, when in fact we aren't quite as open as we could be. 

Here is a couple of simple truths - we need the world, and badly. We need its investment, its brain power, its heft in labour, its ideas and the growth that all of that brings. 

At the moment we are watching New Zealanders leave while seeing Indians and Filipinos arrive. 

Coming here and setting up shop here would be easier if you could feel welcome and have a chance to get a piece of the action. 

As far as offshore is concerned. it is limited to Australians, Singaporeans and expats. The rest of the world is locked out. 

As a result, the top end of the housing market is flat as a pancake. Read the piece in OneRoof, "million-dollar agents urge rethink of foreign buyer ban". Money is being left on the table. 

Yes, they have a self-interest. But most of us don’t. Most of us really just want what's best for the country and locking people out isn't smart business. 

On the street around the corner from me I can show you four houses for sale worth in excess of $20 million each. They are not selling, nor most likely will they, because those aren't the houses we generally buy. They are houses for Americans, Europeans and Chinese, where 50p buys a Kiwi dollar and where billions aren't as rare as they are here. 

Whether it's tourism, start up money, IPO's, the sharemarket, our housing market or immigration, this country has lost its fizz. It's competing in a world of countries where the bright and the brilliant are in big demand. 

We cannot afford to hobble ourselves, and here is a simple truth. 

Most of them want a house. 

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