Robertson versus LINZ on foreign ownership register

OIA documents show that LINZ thinks a foreign ownership register of landowners wouldn’t be easy nor accurate.

NewstalkZB reports: Stoush brewing over foreign landowner register.

Documents obtained under the Official Information Act show Land Information New Zealand believes a land transfer system wouldn’t be an appropriate way to collect the information, nor would it produce accurate results.

LINZ warns enforcement of a register could be difficult, and requiring land owners to provide their immigration status could be inconsistent with the Privacy Act.

Officials also say singling out foreign land owners could breach the Bill of Rights and Human Rights Acts.

But Labour’s Grant Robertson doesn’t agree.

“They make the point of looking at the state of Queensland and come up with every small and minor reason why it might not be possible. In reality, if there is a will and need to do this it can be done.”

It would cost an extra $100,000 for changes to be made to the electronic land transfer system to record a property owners’ residence status

Labour MP Grant Robertson says given the price of houses in Auckland at the moment, $100,000 is a bargain to get the system going.

He says it seems to him New Zealanders want to know more about the origins of people who’re purchasing houses.

How many New Zealanders want to know about this apart from MPs who want to use it for political ammunition?

What would a register be useful for apart from complaining about how many foreigners buy property here? The next step would be actually stopping foreign ownership, but then a register would be superfluous.

Robertson is Labour’s finance spokesperson, why is he speaking on this? He may just have responded to journalist inquiries, there’s nothing on this on his Facebook timeline, Twitter, his website or the Labour media release page.

The most important question is what will a foreign onwership register achieve?