“The Government needs to immediately come clean over whether its foreign home-buyer ban breaches basic human rights and contravenes New Zealand’s trade deals with other countries”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.
On Thursday, the Government introduced legislation which would ban foreign home-buyers. Treasury has now released the advice it provided to Ministers on the proposed ban. It raises a number of questions which the Government must immediately answer.
“First, is the ban consistent with the Bill of Rights Act 1990 which protects New Zealanders’ human rights and fundamental freedoms? Although heavily redacted, the Cabinet paper says that Treasury and the Ministry of Justice ‘will work together…to improve consistency with the Bill of Rights Act’. This is hardly a ringing endorsement.
“Second, does the ban breach New Zealand’s trade deals with other countries? The ‘international obligations’ section of the Cabinet paper is completely withheld. Questions have been repeatedly raised on this issue and must now be answered.
“Third, will this knee-jerk ban have unforseen effects? In its advice, the Treasury sent a warning to the Government about the speed with which it intends to implement this ban. It says the rushed process may lead to ‘unintended consequences’ and leaves little time for real estate agents, the public, and government departments to come up to speed with the changes.
“Not only does this ban prevent Kiwis from selling their property to whomever they choose, Vancouver’s experience shows it is unlikely to work. Given these new questions over the ban, the Government should now think very carefully about how it proceeds”, says Mr Seymour.