Labour's foreign housing ban 'symbolism' - Patrick Gower

Newshub Political Editor Patrick Gower says Labour's plans to ban foreign housing buyers is sending a message this Government is different.

Appearing on the AM Show on Wednesday, Gower argued the ban is supported by two-thirds of the public, and the Government will get credit from voters for instituting it.

"It sends the symbol that this Government is different to the last one, on housing in particular," he states.

"[It is] symbolism in terms of differentiating this Labour-led coalition with New Zealand First, supported by the Greens, with the National Party.

"Labour have had this as a policy going right back to David Shearer as leader. That's when they wanted to first ban foreign buyers from the New Zealand housing market."

Gower said it's taken a while to make this legal change due to National's intransigence.

"National have fought this every step of the way," he says.

"National did not want to collect data, National did not want to find out even if this was a problem or not. National did not want to do this ban. National said that this would breach trade agreements right up until the election campaign."

But this has all changed due to new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who said "we can do this" and got on with it.

Gower believes this puts Ms Ardern in a position where she can have a foreign ownership ban as well as "slam-dunk" the TPP, which sends a good message to the New Zealand business community and centre-right voters that Labour is willing to get things done.

"It's a double-whammy by Jacinda Ardern on the cards here and National will have the ignominy of watching a Labour Party - where lots of the senior members actually protested against the TPP - are now able to slip that through."