Labour MP Phil Twyford's policy for a ban on foreign house buyers will go before Parliament after the bill was drawn from the member's ballot today.
Mr Twyford's bill would add a ban on foreign buyers buying homes to the Overseas Investment Act. It would prevent non-residents buying homes unless they intended to move to New Zealand or were building a new home. That included those staying in New Zealand for less than a year while those with visas for more than 12 months would have to sell any home if they left New Zealand.
The Overseas Investment (Protection of New Zealand Homebuyers) Amendment Bill is unlikely to pass but will provide a further platform for Labour to promote its policy.
Foreign home buyers are a bone of contention between Labour and National. One of Labour's bottom lines on the Trans Pacific Partnership was for future governments to be able to restrict property sales to foreigners and leader Andrew Little has said the party will vigorously oppose the aspects of the agreement that do not allow that.
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Mr Twyford said Australia had managed to get a carve out to allow it to restrict sales in line with its existing laws and New Zealand should do the same. National does not believe a ban is necessary and has accused Labour of racism and targeting Chinese house buyers to try to prove its point. That was after Labour released leaked Barfoot and Thompson property sales data showing a high proportion of home buyers had Asian surnames.
Members' bills are those fronted by individual MPs rather than the Government. They are debated in Parliament on Wednesday in every second sitting week and when one is concluded, it is replaced by another drawn from the ballot. Few opposition MPs' bills make it past the first reading. However, as Labour's Sue Moroney showed it is possible to get enough support with the votes of the Maori Party and either Act or United Future as well as all Opposition parties.
Other MPs with bills drawn this week were Green MP Mojo Mathers, National MP Mark Mitchell and Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox. Ms Fox's bill will allow MPs and others taking formal oaths or declarations to pledge to uphold the Treaty of Waitangi. A similar bill was defeated at the first reading two years ago when it was put up by Ms Fox's fellow co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell. Swearing allegiance to the Treaty has been controversial in the past with some MPs forced to repeat the oath or declaration set out in law.
National MP Mark Mitchell 's bill would withhold benefit payments from offenders who repeatedly breached the conditions of community sentences. Mr Mitchell said it would give Corrections a further way to ensure compliance with community sentences. It also built on new rules in the welfare reforms under which offenders with outstanding warrants of arrest had benefit payments suspended.
Ms Mathers' Commerce (Supermarket Adjudicator and Code of Conduct) Amendment Bill would introduce a code of conduct for supermarkets and an independent adjudicator for disputes between supermarkets and suppliers, funded by a levy on the supermarkets. Ms Mathers said the two main supermarket chains controlled 90 per cent of the industry and their buying power meant they could dictate terms and prices to suppliers which impacted on local food suppliers.