A group of concerned farmers has set up a lobby group called Save The Cities.
“If city folk want to Save The Farms, it’s the least we can do to reciprocate and Save The Cities,” group spokesperson Fairly Emotional said.
“Overseas buyers are lining up from all countries to purchase our houses, apartments, office blocks, factories and other residential and business property.
“We believe the Government must take urgent steps to address overseas ownership of our homes and work places. The first step to place a moratorium on the sale of any sensitive residential or business property to overseas ownership until there has been informed public debate and suitable protections incorporated into a review of the Overseas Investment Act 2005. New Zealand must retain ownership of our the homes, offices and workplaces of Aotearoa New Zealand.
“Overseas investment can bring positive economic benefits to New Zealand and there are a number of examples, equally there are examples where those benefits quickly move off-shore. Much of our prime residential and business property is now in overseas ownership. Can we afford to sit back and let this happen to our large cities and the communities they support?
“The culture of New Zealand is one of partnership with the land and the waters of Aotearoa. As partners we ask for the chance to be heard and the opportunity to best protect our properties for future generations.”
Ms Emotional said she hadn’t been in a city for some time but used to stay with urban relatives when she was a child.
“I have very fond memories of playing in quarter acre sections with my cousins but they tell me with in-fill housing and apartment developments there aren’t many of them left.
“Quarter acre sections are Kiwi icons like pavlova and jandals. We can’t have foreigners buying them and turning city folk into tenants in their own homes, even though many of them already are.”
Ms Emotional said she was aware that banning foreign buyers could precipitate a collapse in property prices.
“But that could be a good thing. It’s too difficult for young people to get a foot on the property ladder these days. If we limit the market the rungs will get lower and make it easier for people to become home owners.”
She said a fall in urban property prices would also help retiring farmers who’d had the price of their farms depressed by moves against foreign ownership but denied that was what was motivating the Save The Cities campaign.
“As New Zealanders we are proud of our place in the world. We have always batted above our weight on the international stage, be it on the sporting fields or in our role as an international citizen and the responsibilities that brings with it.
“We have a beautiful country and wonderful traditions which must never taken for granted. There will always be pressures economically, socially and culturally to make accommodations and that is the reality of a modern country. One of those traditions is property owning and the way that continues to support not only our country but the local communities which rely on the homes and businesses. We cannot let that be lost without questioning, why?”