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QLDC asks Govt to pause on Overseas Investment Amendment Bill

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult has today led a submission on behalf of Queenstown Lakes District Council addressing Government’s proposed Overseas Investment Amendment Bill.

"QLDC has long championed housing affordability within the district, and developed a number of innovative programmes to address this issue. It goes without saying that we definitely support the intent behind this Bill."

"However the Bill’s fundamental position is that the affordability issue is driven by overseas investors. We contend this belief is misplaced and we’re asking Central Government to take more time for further research and analysis," said Mayor Boult.

In its submission, QLDC has outlined why this Bill, which primarily targets overseas property investors, matters to the Council and ratepayers. It also provides a comprehensive list of recommendations.

"We have the fastest growing population in New Zealand with a significant proportion of that growth coming from international migrants. The district’s economy relies heavily on employees coming from overseas. Many of these are experienced professionals with families who need the opportunity to invest in a home otherwise attracting the skills we desperately lack in the district will be impossible," said Mayor Boult.

QLDC’s submission reflects that little evidence exists to support the claim overseas buyers are having an effect on house prices, as between July and Sept last year, only 3.25% of all property sales nationally were to overseas buyers, dropping to 2.25% if Australians were excluded from these statistics.

QLDC contends that the high number of second homes in the district (typically owned by Aucklanders and Australians) could be contributing more significantly to the increase in house prices than overseas buyers. Mayor Boult believed the Bill does not address the significant role these second home buyers play in the affordability problems faced by local residents and further research is required into this and other possible contributory factors.

"We’ve learnt from our own Housing Affordability Taskforce that there is no easy, single answer to this complex issue. We don’t really understand the impact this Bill will have on the housing market, our wider economy and international reputation if it is passed in its current format," said Mayor Boult.

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