The new Labour-led government has already started work on how to ban non-resident foreigners from buying existing New Zealand homes, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.
Meanwhile, a mini-Budget might be on its way, incorporating bits and pieces from Labour’s 100-day plan.
Speaking to media in the Parliament forecourt after being sworn in as PM at Government House, and then addressing a large public crowd in Parliament grounds, Ardern said the foreign house buyer ban remained a priority.
The promise has thrown up a number of questions as to whether Labour can renegotiate certain trade agreements – including one with South Korea and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) – to allow for the policy.
Labour has already started work on its negotiating position for when Ardern travels to the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in early November, where TPP will be discussed. Ardern said Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Trade Minister David Parker will travel to APEC with her and be part of that negotiating team.
Introducing the legislation for such a ban is included in Labour’s 100-day plan, which will be outlined early next week, Ardern said. Very little has changed regarding the plan from Labour’s pre-election outline.
There may also be a mini-Budget coming, she said. Advice was being sought on whether parts of the 100-day plan could be raked into a mini-Budget, she said. Cabinet would discuss whether this was required.
Meanwhile, Ardern was quizzed about Labour’s stated goal to get unemployment back to 4% by 2020. Asked how the new government planned to do this, she noted the strong regional development focus of the new government. Labour would also introduce a number of programmes to assist long-term unemployed into work, like its Ready for Work scheme, she said.
Labour and New Zealand First Ministers later had their first Cabinet meeting on the Beehive's tenth floor: