Winston Peters points at 'laundering scheme'

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 16:48 24/08/2014
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters
MICHAEL FIELD/Fairfax NZ
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters

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New Zealand First leader Winston Peters claims he has discovered a migration based money laundering scheme in Auckland housing.

A housing sub-division on Auckland's outskirts has, he says, sold 22 properties all for the same price and all too foreign investors.

Speaking in Epsom to around 60 supporters at an election rally, Peters was damning the National Party's announcement today of a $20,000 kick-start for low and middle income couples who build a new home.

He said this comes as Housing Minister Nick Smith keeps denying there is a housing crisis in Auckland.

Peters said there was, and it was mostly to do with the ease with which foreigners could buy housing in New Zealand.

He claimed that one man, living in Beijing, owned 55 houses in Auckland, as part of what he said was huge banking taking place in the city.

"I know something about money laundering and tax evasion," he said and pointed to a land development on Auckland's outskirts were all 22 lots were sold to overseas buyers.

"All 22 lots sold to overseas buyers; Kiwi buyers did not even get to see the land promoted because it was not promoted in this country," he said.

An "interesting aspect" was that every lot sold for the same price, $500,000.

"Ever heard that before?"

Peters said something suspicious was happening and the Inland Revenue Department should look at it.

"What it points to is money laundering, GST avoidance and cash top-ups," he said."They will not be selling it in total for $500,000; there will be behind the scenes and under the table payments.

"Foreign owners have tax advantages not available to New Zealand investors.

"The buyers, who he hinted were Chinese, could get into New Zealand with low interest Chinese mortgages not available in New Zealand.

"They cannot lose and we cannot win."

Peters gave no other details of the property development.

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