NZ immigration issues fuel upcoming election debate

NZ immigration issues fuel upcoming election debate

NZ immigration issues fuel upcoming election debate

Immigration and its effect on soaring property values is becoming a contentious issue in political debates leading up to New Zealand’s September general election.

In the run-up to New Zealand’s general election, Kiwi political parties are busy formulating anti-immigration strategies appealing to their supporter bases. Proposals include a total ban on investment in city-located property by incoming migrants and even a clampdown on the number of vises issued.

Anti-immigration fervour is usually confined to countries whose economies are in a downturn, whereas New Zealand is enjoying a boom due to worldwide demand for its dairy and meat products. Its confident central bank is considering raising interest rates, a tactic rarely used since the 2008 financial crisis broke, and immigration numbers are hitting new heights.

Many of the country’s politicians are attributing the sudden rise in house prices to unchecked immigration. At the present time, New Zealand’s housing market is the fourth most expensive in the world, putting even studio apartments outside the affordable price range for everyday citizens.

In Auckland, the average price of a single property has soared over the past year to US$535,458, with the increase now being blamed on migrants and spurring suggestions that immigrants be forced to live in small, rural towns outside the major cities during the early years of their residence. One political party, New Zealand First, wants a total ban on purchase of investment property by foreigners living outside the country.

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