Media reporting on Labour’s housing policy

Matt Harman at Fuseworks writes:

The non-resident buyers policy followed a fairly typical pattern – as soon as it was released there was a flood of information and opinions released to the media – some in support of the policy, but mostly not.  

This isn’t a Party specific problem – we’ve found the same pattern with virtually any announcement made by any political party.

Themes that gained the most traction were that the policy is xenophobic and that it only targets a very small portion of buyers.

Backers said that having no restrictions is causing a housing bubble, that similar policies are common in other countries and NZ land should be kept in NZ hands. …

We compared the media reported responses to Labour’s policy for the three days immediately following the announcement, to what was reported in the following two weeks.

Initial reporting focused heavily on four themes:

  • – Labour’s message that the approach was common overseas
  • – The view put forward by John Banks and others that it is xenophobic
  • – The view first expressed by lawyer Stephen Franks that the policy may violate NZ free trade agreements (FTAs)
  • – The view put forward by the National Party and others that the policy would likely target a small proportion of buyers

In the following two weeks the responses related to NZ FTAs and the number of buyers it would impact receded, while the xenophobic narrative continued to be a high proportion of the overall discussion.

I am not surprised the media narrative changed, as it transpired Labour’s policy would breach several FTAs they themselves signed!

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