The New Zealand government is being challenged by its opposition to use the information it will start collecting on property purchases later this year to set up a register of foreign buyers.

The Labour Party said the government had so far refused to collect data that would show how many foreign investors are purchasing property across the country, and especially in the overheated market of Auckland. It added that the public had a right to get a more accurate picture of foreign ownership of housing.

From October, the government will begin collecting bank and tax details of people buying properties for the purpose of investment, including those from overseas.

Labour’s Phil Twyford says: “I challenge them to promise that they will use that information that was gathered through Inland Revenue to establish a register of foreign ownership of New Zealand residential real estate. And then to put the facts on the table and tell New Zealanders exactly what’s going on.”

Housing Minister Nick Smith said there was no need for a register of foreign owners, as numerous government departments told him foreign buyers were not having any significant effect on the Auckland housing market.