National opens door further to Chinese property speculators

National has further opened the door to Chinese property speculators with the registration of a third Chinese bank here that will make it easier for Chinese investors to invest in New Zealand properties, the Green Party said today.

“As well, former party ministers are abetting the newly New Zealand registered Bank of China becoming an active player in the property market,” Green Party housing spokesperson Kevin Hague said today.

“Far from acting to limit foreign investors buying up property - a significant factor in driving up Auckland house prices - former top National Party officials are aiding and abetting the process.”

Former free market National finance minister Ruth Richardson and former National minister Chris Tremain have been named directors of the Chinese banking giant’s New Zealand subsidiary, registered locally this week.

Former National Party leader Don Brash and former Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley chair local subsidiaries of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China Construction Bank respectively, two other giant Chinese banks.

“This smacks of a National Party retirement scheme that puts the interests of these former ministers ahead of those of ordinary New Zealanders,” Mr Hague said.

“Bank of China is likely to be active in the property market, lending to Chinese clients investing in the New Zealand housing market.

“Almost every country, including China, has limits on non-residents buying residential property. This is one sensible and costless way the Government could move to reduce pressure on house prices.

“Auckland house prices have risen 33 percent since 2011 and over 45 percent since National came to office, not only putting home ownership out of reach for many New Zealanders, but causing rates to spiral.

“Rather than helping speculators, National should have a programme to build affordable houses. That would ease the price pressures and assist young New Zealanders into housing.

“Instead, the National Government plans to conduct a privatisation programme by stealth by selling a large portion of our state houses.” Mr Hague said.