Owning property is supremely popular with our MPs, according to the latest list of parliamentarians’ investments and properties. Many own multiple places, with one National MP topping the list with eight properties to his name.
Released yesterday, the register of pecuniary and other specified interests for MPs shows a total of 248 properties are owned by MPs. It’s also rare to not own your own home in parliament. Of our 120 MPs, only nine don’t own property, giving an overall ownership rate of 93 percent.
That’s a lot higher than ownership in the general population. According to Stats NZ, 64.5 percent of New Zealand households own property - the lowest rate in 70 years. Unsurprisingly, if you’re young, the chances of owning a home is even less. In 2018, only 44 percent of people aged 25 to 29 lived in an owner-occupied home, down from 61 percent in 1991.
In parliament, the National Party makes up the majority of property owners. 33 members either own or have investments in 117 properties. This is an average of 3.5 houses per member. Every National MP also owns at least one property. List MP David Bennett, who represents Hamilton East electorate for the party, owns eight properties - the most in parliament. One is a residential property, while the rest are dairy farms, kiwifruit orchards and a stock property. Party leader Judith Collins owns three properties.
Labour comes in second, with a collective 103 properties among its 65 MPs - an average of 1.6 properties per member. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern owns her family home, while list MP Willie Jackson owns four properties - three family homes in Auckland and Rotorua and an apartment in Wellington.
Meanwhile, Act leader David Seymour owns three properties, which includes a holiday home and a family home.
Property declared in the register includes investments, residential, farms, and land.
Correction: Oops! When the article was published on Wednesday 19 May, we said MPs own 247 houses between them. We missed one property from our overall count. They actually own 248 houses between them. We also said only eight MPs don't own property, but it's actually nine. We've updated the headline and this article to reflect the real numbers.