Labour's housing spokesman has come out swinging against foreign speculators snapping up Kiwi homes.
Phil Twyford told TV3's The Nation today leaked real estate data indicating people of Chinese descent were buying properties in Auckland at rates far above their proportion of the population was pricing first-time buyers out of the market.
He also warned against a "tsunami of Chinese investment" he said was on the way. Mr Twyford said Labour would ban foreign buyers from purchasing New Zealand homes.
Real-estate figures leaked to the Labour Party and revealed in the NZ Herald today, which cover almost 4000 house sales by one unidentified firm from February to April, indicate people of Chinese descent accounted for 39.5 per cent of the transactions in the city in that period.
Yet Census 2013 data shows ethnic Chinese who are New Zealand residents or citizens account for just 9 per cent of Auckland's population.
"What it shows, I think, is striking," Mr Twyford said.
"Nearly 40 per cent of the houses sold in that period went to people of Chinese descent.
The Chinese population in New Zealand, according to the most recent Census data, is about 9 per cent. "That's a remarkable discrepancy and in my view it's simply not plausible to suggest, as many have done in the last couple of years, that ethnic Chinese buying houses in New Zealand are all Chinese New Zealanders."
The figures showed off-shore Chinese investors had a "very significant presence" in New Zealand. "Aucklanders, I think, have known that for years but the government is in denial."
And more Chinese capital could be on the way should its government loosen spending rules. "There's a tsunami of Chinese investment heading towards international real estate markets, including New Zealand," Mr Twyford said.
He defended the data's reliability and fended off suggestions Labour was playing the race card, saying it was not plausible to suggest Auckland's Chinese population has gone on a "house-buying bender" early this year.
"I'm standing up for Kiwi first-home buyers who currently are denied the dream of affordable home ownership." The Nation said the figures showed Auckland suburbs Albany, Epsom and Milford were the post popular locations for buyers of Chinese descent.
Act's David Seymour, MP for Epsom, told the programme it was "plausible" the data was representative. He'd heard anecdotal evidence of people going to house auctions and finding lots of people appearing to be Chinese there. He dismissed Labour's moves to ban foreign buyers.
"They're kicking the race tyres to get some votes because they can't find then anywhere else."Mr Seymour said the real issue was a lack of supply of housing and the Auckland Council's "planning ethos" that was against expanding the city.