Sunday, March 16, 2014

Let us have a level playing field re foreigners buying our houses and farms. Reciprocity!

New Zealand First is bound to make this an election issue. I do not know if 'foreign' (that includes Australia, and not just China!) buyers make it harder for NZ citizens and residents from buying a home by forcing up the prices, but if it does then we need to look at what other countries do. Can NZers buy property in China or other countries? The answer is simple---"if we can buy property overseas as non-residents of that country, then they can do the same here. If not---you know the answer.  Read on. Anne's article makes for some interesting reading.

    Anne Gibson

    Anne Gibson is the Property editor of the NZ Herald

    Chinese snap up more Kiwi properties

    More New Zealand houses are being sold to people who live in China, according to real estate agents.
    Tony Alexander, BNZ chief economist, said the latest BNZ-REINZ Residential Market Survey showed a quarter of all houses or apartments sold to foreigners were going to the Chinese.
    "Whereas last year in March, 15 per cent of dwelling sales to people offshore were to people in China and in May 20 per cent, this March, the proportion is 25 per cent. So a rising proportion of sales going offshore are to people in China of which about 41 per cent are considered as likely to shift to New Zealand," Alexander said. Agents said of all the sales they handle, 6.4 per cent are to people who live overseas.
    He has previously advocated that New Zealand should adopt Australia's more restrictive approach to foreigners buying houses.
    Australia, Britain, Singapore, Hong Kong and Canada all have measures to defend their housing stock against foreign buyers.
    In Australia, foreigners can build only new homes, not buy existing ones, he said.
    When it comes to a multi-unit complex like an apartment block, they can buy only 50 per cent.
    New Zealand should mimic the system so new house supply rises while foreigners are deterred from driving up prices in already overheated places like Auckland, Mr Alexander says.
    The Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa, which has its headquarters in Christchurch, has long campaigned against foreigners buying businesses and property here.
    They claim it is against our national interest and is doing damage to the economy.
    The Labour Party wants to discourage foreign buyers but Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson has expressed doubts about that.
    Countries which banned foreign investors did not enjoy lower house prices and New Zealand did not have to follow other countries on the issue, he says.
    Read the full report here:

    The numbers are---terrifying!

    I am obviously practising with my ‘headers,’ as on first appearances the one above could be for Syria, the low turnout in Crimean referendum, the chances of finding the lost plane or for some other world event. However, the answer is much closer to home. I am referring to the weight loss journey I have been on for the past year. I wore jeans with 46 inches on the waistband then and today I tried on some jeans that I brought 4 months ago and they were 38 inches---way too big. I looked ridiculous in them so what am I today?  32 inches, the same size I was when I was 18. OK, the tummy is not as flat or tight, but its one hell of a lot better than jumbo me and my health is so much better. Anyone my age considering Bariatric Surgery, should have a real good chat with their doctor. It is not for everyone, but it is a good tool as long as you ‘do as you are told.’ I am happier in many ways and not taking all those pills is wonderful. Hell, some of them were for the side effects of the others. Gone for good I hope.  Now, where’s that shopping list for the good online clothing sites?

    The Curve (OLED) TVs, about to come to a place near you. Here we go again!

    We are about to get caught up in the ‘Lets’ keep up with the Jones’ debacle yet again, this time over the new OLED (organic light emitting diode) ‘Curved’ TVs. If you only just brought your LED TV, a smart one to boot, then think again, it’s already out of date. I well remember the days, when I purchased my first stereo, only to find that there was always one much better and more ‘significantly gifted’ that were way beyond my means. I also remember first of the plasma screens (they are not going to be making them anymore!) making its appearance at the ‘Big Boys Toys Show’ and it had a huge price tag of about NZ$18,000. You can pick up models that are far superior to that early model for about NZ$600. Call it progress, call it techno-slavery obsession syndrome;’ that’s probably what I had, pouring endless dollars down the electronic toilet.
    The new OLED TVs are going to cost about $8000 to start, a figure already down from the December price, and you can be sure that the stores will be pushing them really hard. Don’t throw away your old TV just yet; advice that I must take for myself. I have far too many other ‘items’ that require my dollars, so I shall resist the temptation, but I will take a dammed close look at the new ‘must have’ gadget!

    The Crimea---'let's 'gift' it to Ukraine,' said Kruschev. 'NO, it's time to take it back,' growled Putin.

    Many regions in Europe have played ‘who the hell are we?’ over the years; Crimea and Ukraine being just two of them, depending on the political machinations or whims of the ‘main player.’   
    Ukraine has been a sensitive area re Russia’s/USSR’s security for centuries. Ukraine has been a conduit for invasion and the Crimea a strategically important warm-water port for the Russian navy. That Krushev ‘gifted’ the region back to Ukraine in the 50’s and then the said region became gradually Russianized,’ since the early 90s after the break down of the former Soviet Union, just added a pressure that was one day going to boil over, especially with the assistance of Putin in recent years to reclaim as much of the former Soviet Union as he can lay his hands on, legally or through substitute and devious plots, should come as no surprise.
    The West can cry out all it wants but they have underestimated the importance of the whole ‘border regions of Russia as a buffer for Russian fears of a repeat of past historical events.
    The so-called referendum taking place in Crimea today (and soon one in Eastern Ukraine!) will ‘show that the majority of citizens in the  Crimea will vote for a return to Russia. How fair was the poll? One can probably assume that it was hardly an open discussion and the low turnout will signify little as large sectors of the population simply didn’t vote or saw it as a sham; take the Tartars for example. Of course the older citizens will vote for a return to the ‘certainty of the old Soviet Regime, and the promise of cheaper living and pensions that are double what they could expect from the Kiev Government. Any chance that the later government had of winning the hearts of Crimeans was lost after 20 plus years of non-action on the ‘social benefits’ front, so Russia appeared to be the ‘caring’ choice for many Crimeans.
    What are we left with? We have simply gone back to the past. The West’s choices---probably very little they can do. Democracy after all is only as good as the promises it delivers. Kiev, nil, Russia—well, who knows?