Collins keeps pressure on Twyford over KiwiBuild

Judith Collins continued applying pressure over KiwiBuild to Phil Twyford in Parliament yesterday.

Question No. 6—Housing and Urban Development

6. Hon JUDITH COLLINS (National—Papakura) to the Minister of Housing and Urban Development: How many times, under the KiwiBuild programme, has he approved a Crown underwrite to build houses that were already being built, and what is the total price of these underwrites?

Hon PHIL TWYFORD (Minister of Housing and Urban Development): The test applied to determine whether a KiwiBuild underwrite should proceed is additionality—does the proposal increase affordable supply for KiwiBuild buyers in the KiwiBuild price range? I’m advised that the threshold can be met in four key ways: by getting a development under way; by bringing forward a development, or the stage of a development that is scheduled for a later time period; or by redesigning part of a development to provide for additional, affordable homes, rather than a smaller number of more expensive homes. All underwrites approved by the Ministers meet this test. An underwrite has been approved while construction was under way four times. The expected net cost to the Crown of these underwrites is zero. The homes are valued at $26 million, or 4 percent of the total number of underwrites, and almost 0.5 percent of total KiwiBuild homes.

Hon Judith Collins: Why did he approve a Crown underwrite to build houses in Marshland, Christchurch, in November 2018 when council records show these houses were already under construction in April 2018, seven months before he signed the Crown underwrite?

Hon PHIL TWYFORD: Well, I’d have to go back and look at the details of that particular case, but, as I’ve said, the test that’s applied is that of additionality, and there are a number of ways that that can be provided—

Hon Simon Bridges: Spell it.

Hon PHIL TWYFORD: Well, I’ll give the member the case of Mike Greer, who’s committed to 104 homes in both Canterbury and west Auckland, and, as he himself has said in the media, the KiwiBuild underwrite has allowed him to bring forward that development more quickly than it otherwise would’ve happened and include more affordable homes in the development.

Hon Judith Collins: Why did he approve a Crown underwrite last November to build houses in Somerfield, Christchurch, when council records show the houses were built and clad last September?

Hon PHIL TWYFORD: The answer to that question is exactly the same as the one I just gave. As Mike Greer has said, it has allowed that development to come to fruition more quickly than it otherwise would’ve and for more affordable homes to be included.

Hon Judith Collins: Why has he underwritten already-built three-bedroom, one-bathroom houses in Westpark Rangiora, selling for $480,000, while Mike Greer Homes are advertising neighbouring three-bedroom houses with an extra bathroom and a larger floorplate on their own website for $20,000 less?

Hon PHIL TWYFORD: That development is bringing into the market more affordable homes than it otherwise would’ve. This Government is in the business of building affordable homes, unlike what that Government did for nine years—didn’t build a single affordable home and denied there was a housing crisis.

Hon Judith Collins: How many of the Mike Greer homes he has underwritten so far have monolithic cladding?

Hon PHIL TWYFORD: If the member wants to put that question down in writing, I’d be happy to answer it.

Hon Judith Collins: I seek leave to table a council inspection report on failed monolithic cladding at 5 Te Rito Street, Christchurch.

SPEAKER: Is there any objection to that being tabled? There appears to be none.

Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.

Hon Judith Collins: What is the purpose of him underwriting the price that a developer gets for a house when that house has already been built and, in some cases, marketed unsuccessfully to the public?

Hon PHIL TWYFORD: Well, if the member has got evidence that properties have been unsuccessfully marketed, I’d be happy to receive it. But we’ve made it very, very clear that in the case of the 104 homes that Mike Greer Homes is contributing, they were brought to market more quickly, he reduced his margins, and there are more affordable homes available through Mike Greer than there otherwise would’ve been because of the KiwiBuild underwrite.

26 Comments

  1. David

     /  March 13, 2019

    It was always going to happen with this government, they are too dumb and inept to address any of the issues so have resorted to spraying taxpayers cash around to massage the numbers.
    The Marshland houses I know quite well and its a bit outrageous he can claim them as Kiwibuild, they are completed houses Greer has been trying to sell for a couple of years that no one wants.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/property/89399093/christchurchs-terraced-homes-struggling-to-sell-as-housing-market-levels

    Christchurch has too many houses already, we have no shortage or crisis like they have up North. This is Twyford desperately doing numbers at the taxpayers expense.

  2. Blazer

     /  March 13, 2019

    ‘It was always going to happen with this government, they are too dumb and inept to address any of the issues’

    the issues/crisis accelerated by the previous National administration that wanted to maintain an illusion of growth in GDP and individual wealth,regardless of the real consequences!

    Absolutely criminal.

    • Trevors_Elbow

       /  March 13, 2019

      Breathe….. Breathe deep Blazer and repeat the mantra…. I have the government I want… the Bad Man Key is gone…. I must move on and think about what is not what i thought was….

      • Blazer

         /  March 13, 2019

        yes the wrecking ball is gone…but the destruction will take time to..rebuild.

  3. Gezza

     /  March 13, 2019

    It’s quite a bizarre situation. Twyford obviously thinks calling unaffordable homes affordable homes is working for him. Most people I know are larfing at him over this.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  March 13, 2019

      Someone’s moved into one of the Te Kauwhata ones in the swamp behind someone I know. She doesn’t spend all day looking out, but has seen him looking irate as he goes around with a tape measure and has great trouble with the doors and windows.

      Why doesn’t Twyford use the nice prefab houses made in Huntly ? Good enough for anyone to live in and built in weeks.

  4. Blazer

     /  March 13, 2019

    affordable homes are $3-350,000 using av annual income as a guide.

    • Finbaar Rustle

       /  March 13, 2019

      To be fair no house is affordable if you have to borrow money to buy it.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  March 13, 2019

        You always have to borrow money to buy it – either from yourself or someone else.

        • Blazer

           /  March 13, 2019

          how much interest do you charge…yourself?

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  March 13, 2019

            Ever heard of opportunity cost?

            • Blazer

               /  March 13, 2019

              sure…allocation of your resources is not borrowing from yourself.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  March 13, 2019

              That’s on a par with your usual banking delusions.

  5. Finbaar Rustle

     /  March 13, 2019

    Phil Twyford answered all the questions brilliantly totally destroying Judith Collins

    In reply to the question about Government underwrites.

    “The expected net cost to the Crown of these underwrites is zero”.
    “The homes are (0.5 percent of total KiwiBuild homes)”

    But the kicker is

    “This Government is in the business of building affordable homes,
    unlike what that Government did for nine years—
    didn’t build a single affordable home and denied there was a housing crisis”.

    Made National look weak and pitiful while making Labour look totally in control.
    Well done Phil.
    .