A second real estate boss has backed a foreign buyers' register, after support from Barfoot & Thompson's Peter Thompson.

Geoff Barnett, the New Zealand manager of international real estate agency Century 21 with 20 offices throughout New Zealand, said such a register made perfect sense.

"I would not see it as a negative. We need statistics to help manage the country.

"I don't think it would change anything. I would not be out of favour of it. There would be mixed views throughout the industry, but not a not of negatives," Barnett said.


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Labour's data pointing to large numbers of Chinese-based buyers speculating on Auckland residential properties did not surprise Barnett.

"It's confirming everyone's suspicions which have been held for a long time.

"Sydney has exactly the same thing. They have slightly different rules but they are still getting a lot of overseas investment.

"There are reports of bus loads or bus tours from China and India, going out to the suburbs and buying properties, about 10km from the CBD," Barnett said.

The Government has rejected a foreign buyer's register but a law change due to come into effect in October will give more information.

Barnett pointed to the value of foreign investment but said he favoured residential rules which encouraged new housing being built.

"I believe that overseas investment is good for New Zealand but I believe it should only be in new construction.

"The overseas investors should have to build new houses, not buy into the existing housing stock. That creates shortages.

"Then, if overseas investors come to New Zealand and develop houses, they are adding to the housing stock. I think that's a good thing. But I acknowledge those are not the rules in New Zealand currently," Barnett said.

"I approve of Inland Revenue's new rules from October that all buyers must have an IRD number.

"Those controls are good because property values have traditionally risen over a long term and speculators should pay tax.

"I believe people should be taxed on the profits they make from a business and if it is your business to buy and sell houses, you should have to pay tax on that.

"Overall, there is nothing to fear. New Zealand needs overseas investment to help drive our economy," Barnett said.

Peter Thompson of Barfoot and Thompson said Labour's claims were in excess of reality.
Peter Thompson of Barfoot and Thompson said Labour's claims were in excess of reality.

His comments came after Thompson - who is managing director of Barfoot & Thompson - said during an interview for the Herald's upcoming Mood of the Boardroom chief executives' survey that it was time for a register of foreign buyers in the residential housing market.

Labour recently used leaked sales figures from Barfoot & Thompson to underpin its claim that too many overseas buyers dominated by Chinese were acquiring residential properties and adding to the Auckland housing price spiral.

Thompson said Labour's claims were in excess of reality. "But I think there does need to be some form of establishing where these buyers are actually coming from."

He is disappointed that Labour - to whom he earlier this year extended an open door to come and talk about the Auckland housing market - did not approach him before going public with their conclusions.

"I had made an offer a couple of times but they never take it up."

Mood of the Boardroom, the Herald's annual CEO survey, is a prime barometer of business sentiment in New Zealand.

In this year's survey, chief executives will give an insight into the NZ business environment and the strategies their firms are developing as the economy pegs back. They'll also comment on Government strategies and Labour's emerging policies and share their views on issues like housing.

"I think there does need to be some form of establishing where these buyers are actually coming from."

The survey is in its 14th year.

"The Mood of the Boardroom CEO Survey is a telling indicator of the opinion of our top business leaders," says Deloitte chief executive Thomas Pippos.

"Its worth lies in the personal opinions and overall mood of CEOs on our economic and political performance across all industries."

BusinessNZ's membership has also been asked for feedback on key issues to give a broader snapshot.

BusinessNZ chief executive Phil O'Reilly noted his organisation is proud of its lengthy partnership with the Herald and "values the opportunity to present our members' views on issues of national importance".

The Mood of the Boardroom 2015 report will be unveiled at a breakfast at the Langham hotel in Auckland on August 13.

Finance Minister Bill English and Labour's finance spokesman Grant Robertson will debate the survey results in front of a top-drawer business audience.

The prime sponsors of Mood of the Boardroom also include: Simpson Grierson, Spark NZ, Westpac, the EMA and Vector.