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National Government does not want to collect data

Raymond
HUO
Spokesperson for Statistics

21 May 2014 MEDIA STATEMENT
National Government does not want to collect data

The Government has its head in the sand when it refuses to collect data on foreign home ownership, says Labour spokesperson for Statistics Raymond Huo.

“The new Minister for Statistics, Nicky Wagner confirmed through her officials at this morning’s Government Administration Select Committee meeting that collecting such data is not a priority.

“Amid concerns and heated debate on housing affordability, the National Government is dropping the ball by failing to collect the vital data.

“Statistics New Zealand does not collect any data on who is buying up residential properties in New Zealand. The Overseas Investment Office only ‘monitors’ purchases of sensitive land and significant business assets.

“There are further gaps in Statistics New Zealand’s knowledge about housing. The 2013 Census failed to collect meaningful data on the overall rates of home ownership.

“As Michael Littlewood from the Retirement Policy and Research Centre has highlighted, 362,000 dwellings, or 20.7% of all dwellings, on census night were either unoccupied or it was not clear on the form who owned the home. The Census has to change in order for us to be able to draw accurate conclusions about home ownership rates in New Zealand.

“All the Government can say is that no one knows the level of foreign ownership of New Zealand homes or they are resorting to relying on anecdotes to steer clear of potentially embarrassing disclosures.

“Labour has a vision to get Kiwis into their own home. A Labour-led Government will build 100,000 affordable starter homes, implement a Capital Gains Tax to take the speculative heat out of the market, put a stop to offshore speculators bidding up prices, and give the Reserve Bank the option of raising savings rates rather than interest rates.

“The country is crying out for better data to help us better understand the trends in the market.

“By failing to collect the evidence, the National Government either doesn’t want to know about the problem, or they want to hide it”.

ENDS

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