Election 2023: Christopher Luxon continues to refuse to rule out overturning foreign buyer ban as Labour, NZ First go on attack

There were fireworks over foreign buyers on Wednesday as the Government took aim at National's hinting that changes to the foreign buyers' ban may be on the way. 

Outside Parliament, there was one man who may have just found a platform to get himself back there. 

Three bedrooms, one bathroom, quarter acre, do-er upper - only Kiwis need apply. Because in New Zealand, existing homes are only available for Kiwis to buy.

"We want to make sure that New Zealand homebuyers are front of the queue for buying New Zealand properties," said Prime Minister Chris Hipkins. 

"Having foreign speculators coming in and snapping up New Zealand houses isn't going to be in New Zealand's best long-term interests."

But if there's a change of government, it could be a foreigner free for all.

On Tuesday, National leader Christopher Luxon wouldn't rule it out.

"We will have more to say about that with our investment policy that we will announce in the next few weeks," said Luxon.

"Clearly, there has got to be restrictions on foreign buyers. We think that is appropriate, but we will have more to say shortly."

Hipkins said Luxon should tell New Zealanders what he is going to do.

On Wednesday, Luxon was still playing wait and see. 

"We will have an overseas investment plan as part of our broader economic plan that we will announce very shortly," he said. 

He's not ruling out selling the Kiwi dream to the highest bidder.

"We will announce our policy on overseas investment very shortly," he said. 

In 2018, the Labour New Zealand First Coalition banned foreign investors from buying most homes here. It was somewhat controversial. 

There was criticism it was xenophobic, but Labour's overseas investment spokesperson David Parker said on Wednesday he didn't agree.

"I think it is the birthright of New Zealanders to have first dibs on our land," he said. 

Asked whether he believed New Zealanders should rent houses from foreign landowners, Luxon said: "As a principle, I want as many New Zealanders in homeownership as possible."

Parker said New Zealanders should live in their own houses.

"They shouldn't rent them from overseas owners."

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has been campaigning against foreign buyers for decades.

"New Zealanders need to be able to in a housing crisis not be competing with foreign buyers who don't live here," Peters said.

"I would have thought they'd have enough sense not to go down that track."

Luxon said New Zealanders can be "reassured that we will be acting in New Zealand's national interest". 

It'd be a bit problematic if National needs Peters after the election. 

Luxon said he wasn't considering how it may impact his relationship with Peters. 

Peters said: "Every smart vehicle needs a handbrake, and then a turbo-charger for good ideas. It's a two-way thing."

The self-heralded handbrake finding familiar - and fertile - voting turf.

Jenna Lynch Analysis

What is National up to here? Until they actually open their mouths and spill the policy it's hard to say.

But if National was to reverse this ban it would be irreversible - we couldn't put the ban back on due to our trade agreements.

By not ruling this out Christopher Luxon has opened the door on a decades-old debate and possibly opened the door for one Winston Peters to come storming back through. 

Peters built his firebrand on this stuff. It's the name of his party - New Zealand First. He thrives on protectionist sentiment.

National's now not only not ruling Peters out but seemingly - unintentionally or not - giving him a platform.

This is a party whose platform thus far has been on the fringe. On Wednesday, the party released a policy about who can use public toilets.

Until National fills its own foreign buyers void, every other party has the opportunity to make hay and mischief with the uncertainty.