Foreigners should have freer access to buy New Zealand property, KiwiSaver must become compulsory and big-spending local councils should be reined in, the Property Council says.

The council's new manifesto Fast Forward to Growth also calls for higher savings, lower debt and changes to encourage Christchurch investors to stay and rebuild.

The Overseas Investment Act should be amended so fewer applications are referred to the minister for a determination and changes are made to the definitions of farmland and non-urban land to take account of land zoning, the council said.

Savings would rise if KiwiSaver was compulsory and at least 20 per cent of all the NZ Superannuation Fund's money should go to New Zealand equities, including listed and direct property trusts "to support productive sectors within the New Zealand economy", the manifesto says.


It is deeply critical of councils and called for the Government to identify and prescribe a set of core functions that councils should perform.

Amendments to the Local Government Act 2002 would restrict council activities and stop them penalising property owners. More amalgamation of councils was also appropriate and the Government must direct this, the council said.

Chris Gudgeon, national president and chief executive of listed Kiwi Income Property Trust, said the idea of the manifesto was to propose a vision for a thriving New Zealand economy in an environment where people would feel proud to live and work.

The council says it has 550 member companies. Members include institutional investors, property trusts and financial organisations.