John Armstrong is the Herald's chief political commentator

John Armstrong: Bank credit control working

Photo / File
Photo / File

Phew, it looks like not being a scorcher! The Reserve Bank should be pleased even if the politicians will be very much in two minds about it.

The latest BNZ-REINZ residential market survey is the strongest indication yet that the central bank's imposition of credit controls is starting to work in what the bank feared was becoming a dangerously overheated property market in Auckland.

That it has largely been at the expense of first-home buyers is a major political nuisance for National. But the Government will wear that as long as a slowing market deserted by first-home buyers is not simply picked over by property investors and foreign buyers.

John Key may well curse that he failed to convince the Reserve Bank to exclude first-home buyers from the controls. Housing Minister Nick Smith's claim that the survey cannot be trusted because it is the work of those who have a self-interest in the housing market does not hold water. Almost in the same breath he was saying how much National was doing to help first-home buyers.

Finance Minister Bill English will be less churlish, having issued warning after warning about the dangers of the Auckland market collapsing and many people facing the prospect of paying off mortgages on equity that no longer exists.

Labour will argue the lending restrictions are hammering first-home buyers, the very people the Government should be looking after.

- NZ Herald

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John Armstrong is the Herald's chief political commentator

Herald political correspondent John Armstrong has been covering politics at a national level for nearly 30 years. Based in the Press Gallery at Parliament in Wellington, John has worked for the Herald since 1987. John was named Best Columnist at the 2013 Canon Media Awards and was a previous winner of Qantas media awards as best political columnist. Prior to joining the Herald, John worked at Parliament for the New Zealand Press Association. A graduate of Canterbury University's journalism school, John began his career in journalism in 1981 on the Christchurch Star. John has a Masters of Arts degree in political science from Canterbury.

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