Government to act swiftly to ban foreign home buyers

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wants to introduce legislation by Christmas to ban foreign speculators from buying houses in New Zealand.

Non-residents or non-citizens will not be able to purchase existing residential housing, however Australian citizens will be exempt.

Those who are not residents or citizens will still be able to purchase land and build new housing on it. 

"It's not unusual that we're acting in this way now, it's unusual that this hasn't been done before," Ms Ardern said. 

Ms Ardern expects the new legislation, an amendment to the Overseas Investment Act, to take effect from early next year.

She said the Government's advice from officials is that the amendment would breach only one treaty, the Singapore Closer Economic Partnership.

Ms Ardern said the Singapore agreement is due for renegotiation soon and "the options with Singapore will be worked through".

Those who already own property in New Zealand will not be affected as the legislation is not retrospective.

Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker said "If you've got the right to live here you've got the right to buy here but not otherwise."

Ms Ardern said the Government would be looking at land banking in further detail "down the track".