Those cheeky Singaporean adverts about Auckland apartments might help to focus the Government's mind around foreign ownership

By David Hargreaves

Unintended consequences they call it.

Just perhaps the cute advertising campaign in Singapore inviting investors there to buy Auckland apartments and get Kiwis to give them half their weekly wages will at last help to focus the Government's mind on the fact that there really is a bit of a problem with the levels of foreign investment in New Zealand property.

And it possibly might also force some realisation that whatever the current levels of offshore investment here, these levels are only likely to increase.

I actually say good on the folks who came up with the advertising - a Singaporean business ultimately owned by Dunedin-based company Australian Property Solutions. Director Lyndon Fairbairn told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report that Auckland was a "property investors dream", with no capital gains tax or stamp duty.

It just pointed out the obvious. A good piece of marketing.

But interestingly, in defending his advertising campaign Fairbairn went on to point out that his company was essentially doing a positive service by selling new properties - rather than existing ones - to offshore investors and creating work for Kiwis by the building of them.

"We don't sell big hunks of land, beaches or existing property. I think there's a bit of a fine line there, if you are selling existing property to someone overseas you're adding zero value or benefit to the New Zealand economy."

Now, surely, that's a bit of a steer for the Government.

It really does seem to be time for looking at restricting offshore-based buyers to only new properties - so that their investment here become a positive whereby they are helping to add to the housing supply.

And what the heck, how about at the very least throwing some stamp duty into the mix as well.

The subject of foreign ownership of New Zealand property remains a vexed one.

A large part of the angst comes from the fact that there's still very little information about foreign buyers - how many of them there are, where they own, etc.

In the absence of hard data, imaginations run wild, so that the 'educated' thinking in Auckland is of a city teeming with foreigners all clutching suitcases stuffed with cash and buying up large.

The only thing you can say is, that with the world becoming ever more and more a global village, then so foreign buyers will be attracted to our shores. And if we don't level the playing field and put on the kind of foreign ownership limitations and taxes and duties that apply in other countries then logically we will become very popular as an investment destination.

With things as they are at the moment, that could only mean one thing: That our squeezed Auckland house market becomes even more squeezed.

So, rather than get ticked off at the idea of Kiwis as some sort of slaves working down the pit 80 hours a week to keep fat cat foreign owners of our meagre dwellings in the luxury to which they are accustomed, I really do welcome the publicity these Singaporean adverts have attracted.

Perhaps now the Government will actually have to stand up, and get off its hands, and do something. The pressure is certainly building.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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19 Comments

Imagine an NZ outlet would have run an ad about Singaporeans slaving away for their New Zealand landlord masters. Accusations of colonialism, racism, nazism would fly left, right and center and the Singapore government would turn it into a diplomatic issue.

Looks like Kiwis are happy to be the butt of racist remarks, or where is the outcry?

Fits well, btw, with the saintly Lee Kwan Yew's "white trash of Asia" racist outrage. And with Singapore Airlines and its ads going on about "Asian values" as if Asian ethnicity was a determinant of a disposition to hard work etc.

Something is going very wrong in our society, if we allow people to buy into our country and ridicule us for it. Never been a friend of government regulation, but high time to shut the door on investment from undesirable dictatorships like Singapore.

The so called "white trash of Asia" have been taking us for an unchallenged ride for quite a while.

New Zealand's big four Australian owned banks have almost trebled annual dividends.
The four - ANZ NZ, ASB, BNZ and Westpac NZ - paid dividends totaling a combined $2.561 billion for their 2014 financial years, up from $920 million last year.
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How about a UK outlet runnings ads about investing in singapore real estate having Singaporeans pay your mortgage! https://www.ipinglobal.com/lp/sg/singapore/?mcid=1045&campaign=Search_Si...

Just one of hundreds of such outfits. Racist? I don't think so.

NZ does have a DTA -with Singapore.

http://taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz/tax-treaties/singapore

Agreed. I think what set the tone, was saying that 50% of the tenants income would be going to someone else.

On all the measures of affordability - 50% of income is far too high, and this is for a small high rise apartment in the CBD.

I heard about this on Radio Live. Bloody crass is what it is. I guess having Singaporeans and Chinese buying property in Auckland is a bit of a comeuppance for us having a trade deficit totaling billions over the past 30 years.

Correct me if I am wrong, there are some rules but 99.9% of Singaporeans have huge amount in their super fund and they can use it to buy properties elsewhere. Plus their interest rate is in 1-2% range.

you really do have to pay close attention

This morning Lyndon Fairburn from Australian Property Solutions of Dunedin, the author of that Singapore radio advert, was on the radio spruiking his services

ah-hah Dunedin - ah-hah - that's ok then - he's a local boy

A closer look and its

Local Address: Dunedin, Queensland, Australia

http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Lyndon-Fairbairn/788476629

Indeed a closer reveals:
For all enquiries, please contact us at:

Australian Property Solutions
59 Every Street
Andersons Bay
Dunedin
New Zealand

Every Street? You know who lived there about 20 or so years ago, eh?

But he didn't do it!

He's been using this "screw the next guy to line your pocket" techiniques for some time, I (and others) recognised his voice from earlier ads on Radio Live touting the same sort of thing in Wgtn and Southland to Aucklanders. He is a leech

Politicians, bureaucrats and public servants must have taught him how to "Screw the next guy to line your pocket" technique........after all it is only the niche that is different !!!

If you don't have a Government and bureaucracy providing an equal/level playing field in a free market then you will always have an advantaged player.

Kiwis so dumb lah

All those thousands of boys who died in WW1 and WW2. We commemorate their sacrifice by selling everything to the highest bidder.

" Lyndon Fairbairn " ... even the man's name sets off my Gummy BS Detector System ... the red lights are flashing folks , never trust a real estate spruiker whose name is right out of a P.G.Wodehouse novel ...

... " oh I say , Bertie old chap , let me introduce you to Lyndon , " Barney " to his mates , into selling houses to the colonials dontcha know ! ... absolute stinker at bridge , aren't you Barney .... have a G & T old sport , righty-o .... " ...

Not unless our government all of a sudden wasn't full of property investors.

John Key is in Gallipoli telling everyone how our soldiers sacrificed themselves for NZ while back home he is selling houses, farms and letting in virtually any immigrant who wants to come here.
Future generations of NZers will look back in disgust when they find out they will be second class citizens in their own country.
My father, who was one of the first soldiers to go overseas, would turn in his grave if he knew what was happening to NZ now. We are open to the highest bidder from Asia.
Asian money mostly goes into existing housing and farms. It does not go into anything productive which employs people. Some of this Asian money going into real estate is money laundering.
Shame on you, John Key.

John Key is in Gallipoli telling everyone how our soldiers sacrificed themselves for NZ while back home he is selling houses, farms and letting in virtually any immigrant who wants to come here.
Future generations of NZers will look back in disgust when they find out they will be second class citizens in their own country.
My father, who was one of the first soldiers to go overseas, would turn in his grave if he knew what was happening to NZ now. We are open to the highest bidder from Asia.
Asian money mostly goes into existing housing and farms. It does not go into anything productive which employs people. Some of this Asian money going into real estate is money laundering.
Shame on you, John Key.