Immigrants welcome but can’t buy land

The Green Party policy welcomes immigrants but its economic policy  wants to stop them from buying land.

If someone from overseas buys land here they will almost certainly do it with foreign currency which is of benefit to our economy and it’s not who owns the land but what they do with it that matters.

Panelists at a farm forum I attended in July – two farmers, an accountant and a farm advisor, – were adamant that foreign investment in land was a good thing.

It boosted prices so vendors recieved more for their properties which they were able to reinvest elsewhere in the economy.

The new owners farmed the land so that they and/or their staff became part of the community contributing not just economically but socially too. If they chose not to keep the farm, it  was put on the market and available for another purchaser from New Zealand or elsewhere because no matter who owns it, they can’t take land away.

What people do with land is a matter for local and central governments through district and regional plans and the Resource Management Act. Foreign owners already have to satisfy the Overseas Invesment Commission before they buy farmland and that is a sufficient hurdle to ownership.

The Visible Hand in Economics also has questions about restricting land ownership to New Zealanders.

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