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Nats dismiss Labour housing policy

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/05/2017

The Prime Minister has dismissed Labour's proposal to close a housing market tax loophole as "another tax" that will crimp home-building.

Labour leader Andrew Little announced the policy over the weekend.

Under his government property investors would no longer be able to offset rental property losses against income from other sources.

Mr Little says Labour is going after speculators who set up multi-property portfolios, and the policy will bring in $150 million extra revenue a year.

Bill English © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Bill English But Prime Minister Bill English says it will essentially put up taxes on houses when more homes are needed.

He said Labour's policy of reducing visas would also cut into the construction workforce and houses wouldn't be built.

"If there's one thing that's absolutely clear from the whole debate about housing, it is we need more houses, sooner, faster," he told Newshub on Monday.

The government had already brought in its "bright line test" to deal with people who turned over houses quickly, Mr English said.

Labour says the $150m will go into funding insulation and heating to make homes warmer and healthier with grants of up to $2000 per home.

Mr Little reacted to Mr English's comments by saying the prime minister was backing the speculators who were driving first home buyers out of the market.

"By defending a $150m a year handout to property speculators, Bill English is turning his back on Kiwis who just want a fair shot at owning their own home," he said.

"The tax loophole is turbo-charging the property speculation that has driven house prices sky high."

Mr Little said one in seven properties in Auckland were being bought by big time investors with five or more properties.

"First home buyers are not getting a look in."

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