Andrew Bruce, president of the Auckland Property Investors’ Association, has called on the New Zealand government to act against speculative foreign property investors, saying there should be closer scrutiny of them on order to address the “stress” they are creating on the Auckland housing market. To date, the government has ruled out taking any action in the matter.

“It has to be a two-step process starting with a better understanding of exactly how many foreign buyers there are and to what extent they impact our housing market as well as the economy as whole,” says Bruce. “Are they investors who provide accommodation services and feed into the local economy? Are they absentee speculators who leave the houses empty and grossly inflate our prices?”

He went on to say that the government’s inaction in measuring numbers of foreign investors or introducing taxes or measures to deter foreigners wasn’t good enough.

“We are starting from a blank slate as by and large New Zealand is a fairly unregulated open society that attracts foreign interest,” he continued. “This needn’t be a hindrance but rather an advantage. We have a real opportunity here to make meaningful changes so that foreign investment promotes our economy and increases housing accessibility to all.”