Election 2023: Christopher Luxon repeatedly refuses to answer questions about foreign buyers' tax as Treasury advice emerges

Newshub can reveal how Kiwis feel about National's plan to tax foreign buyers of luxury homes - most of them like it. 

However, Newshub has also obtained key Treasury advice explicitly warning against foreigners buying luxury homes because it would increase house prices.  

After cementing his plans for tax cuts, National leader Christopher Luxon is under pressure to give Kiwis hard evidence it stacks up and what impact it will have on houses prices. 

Asked if he got any advice on what it's going to do to the housing market, Luxon said: "Look what I can tell you is taxing foreign buyers on luxury properties, wealthy New Zealanders - wealthy overseas foreigners - wanting to buy a luxury property in New Zealand and giving that money to lower income New Zealanders, brilliant idea." 

Labour finance spokesperson Grant Robertson said National's plan is one "that doesn't have any costings, is going to lead to inflation, is going to increase the cost of housing for New Zealanders - that ain't brilliant". 

Back when the Government brought in the foreign buyers ban, there were requests from foreigners to exempt luxury homes because they weren't competing with first-home buyers. 

Newshub has obtained Treasury advice from 2019 which explicitly tells ministers not to do it because demand for land to develop luxury homes drives up prices of land for more affordable housing. 

Asked again if he thought the policy would drag house prices up, Luxon said: "I would say to you when we talk about wealthy foreigners wanting to buy luxury properties, 10, 15, 20, 30-million-dollar properties here in New Zealand, they can pay a 15 percent tax." 

Still no answer, but Treasury's warning goes on, saying: "Strong foreign activity in the top-end of the market displaces New Zealanders from being able to purchase these homes, and so places further demand pressures in other segments of the market." 

"The housing market's an eco-system. If you push it at one end, it will prod out at the other," Robertson said. 

Newshub again asked Luxon what the foreign buyers' tax was going to do to the housing market. 

"I can tell you, what it's going to do is be able to open up talent and investment to New Zealand." 

But what about the housing market? 

"When I think about what we need for example, in the world of tech, to have a tech entreprenur sitting six months of the year in San Francisco, six months here in NZ, able to buy a house, partner with a New Zealand firm, transfer knowledge, help New Zealand's economy go ahead," Luxon said. 

But that wasn't the question - let's give it another try. 

"What I am confident in is our plan," he said. "It's great we are getting relief to middle and low-income workers." 

Luxon was just straight up refusing to answer the question and then moved onto another journalist. 

However, it seems a lot of Kiwis also like Luxon's foreign buyers' tax. 

In our latest Newshub-Reid Research poll, we asked, should New Zealand let overseas buyers purchase homes over $2 million if they pay a tax? 

More than half - 53 per cent - said yes, while 36 percent said no. 

"I think they support us taxing wealthy foreigners who want to purchase a house in New Zealand and give them that money in tax relief," said Luxon. 

But it's a tax relief package which still has serious questions hanging over it.