Today for the first time I was labelled “racist” and “xenophobic” for holding an admittedly populist opinion that New Zealand property ought to be owned exclusively by residents. This came as quite the shock to me because before today no one had told me the term “resident” was discriminatory on the grounds of race. Of course, it isn’t. To suggest so isn’t only disturbingly uninformed and stupendously incorrect, it is also deterring us from the serious conversation we need to have as a growing country.
So let me set the record straight. I detest racism. I detest xenophobia. I am disgraced and disgusted at the hateful views held by far too many people. I am bewildered and staggered at laws which seek to discriminate people based on race. But the argument in support of a offshore investment housing register, or reserving property for New Zealand residents, or even tightening immigration laws in times of a inflated housing market are not arguments based on race in any way at all.
They are arguments which show we are serious about achieving the New Zealand dream. That dream is simple.
A great New Zealand Prime Minister, arguably our greatest, once said “New Zealanders don’t ask for much: someone to love, somewhere to live, somewhere to work and something to hope for.”.
When tens of thousands of young New Zealand families are being shut out of the housing market due to high prices, a direct result of wealthy offshore investors snatching up property, it is time to act. These wealthy investors, most of whom spend next to no time in New Zealand, are taking advantage of our terribly unregulated housing market. The failure to shut out these people is resulting in demand for New Zealand houses exponentially rising but supply remaining extremely low. Thus, we find ourselves in a housing crisis.
What do these ‘investors’ do to help New Zealand? Not a lot, in my opinion.
It is the working and middle class families we ought to be guaranteeing homes. They are the ones who pay their taxes, who work hard, but live paycheck to paycheck.
We now have a new record of Aucklanders and Cantabs living on the streets. If that is not a sign we need to change our attitude to the housing market, what is?
We cannot tolerate the people already living here being shut of homes, being shut out of the New Zealand dream, and being forced into poverty. If you’re pro-equality, you should support any policy necessary to make sure New Zealand property is kept in New Zealand hands.