Immigration won't reignite housing market - Steven Joyce

  • 10/05/2017

New Finance Minister Steven Joyce is defending an international report that warns immigration might overheat our economy.

The International Monetary Fund has judged our economy as strong, but it says record immigration could reignite the housing market.

New taxes to cool housing speculation are needed, it says.

But Mr Joyce told The AM Show immigration levels are "about right" and speculation taxes are not necessary.

"We've put the bright-line tests in place, it seems to be working well. Auckland house prices for example over the last eight months with the bright-line tests and the LVRs have been flat to falling on average.

The bright-line test involves a special tax when residential land is bought and sold within two years. It doesn't apply to a person's main home.

"The fact of the matter is the New Zealand economy is performing one of the best in the OECD. The Aussie budget came out last night and if you put the two countries side by side, we're getting stronger growth, more employment growth, lower unemployment."

But the Property Institute says Auckland's housing crisis is anything but over.

Chief executive Ashley Church says measures to control price inflation are boosting confidence in other spots around the country.

"The underlying problem in Auckland was around lack of supply and that problem hasn't been resolved.

"Our concern has been that while prices looked to have stabilised for now - stabilised, not dropped - the factors that are driving that growth are still there."

Budget will be 'very sensible'

Mr Joyce says the upcoming Budget will be "very sensible, conservative," and "possibly a good-looking budget".

He says he cannot confirm tax cuts. "There are four things we've been working on. One is public services for a growing country. Secondly is the infrastructure story... Thirdly we have to keep getting net debt down.

"And then if we've got room after that I'd like to do something with family incomes… It would be nice to do something for them."