Tax ghost houses and pour the money back into affordable housing

Last week we polled 73,700 Stuff readers on ghost houses – those houses that sit empty for years as the owners wait for capital gain.

These are the houses where the owners think tenants are simply too much trouble. They don’t want the hassle of renting and the possible damage, and they certainly don’t want to help out a homeless family.

Outspoken economist Gareth Morgan is one of them. He told Three’s The Nation programme that he owns six houses and he doesn’t rent them out because tenants “make the carpets dirty”. Good grief. First-world problems.

And he’s not alone. It turns out a massive 84 per cent of you think we should leave the owners of ghost houses alone and not tax them, as they do in places, such as Vancouver. In that city, the NZ$33.7 million expected to be earned this year through the tax on empty houses (1 per cent of the property value) will be poured straight into affordable housing.

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