Government defensive as Opposition keeps up pressure over KiwiBuild targets

The National Opposition continues to apply relentless pressure on the Government’s lack of significant progress with what was once a strongly promoted ambitious KiwiBuild target of 100,000 houses in ten years.

But the key target seems to be missing – the lack of availability of reasonably priced land.

Yesterday in Parliament:

Hon Simon Bridges: Is the Government still committed to building 100,000 KiwiBuild houses over 10 years?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: As the member well knows, we’re going through the process of a reset around the KiwiBuild programme [Interruption]. Are we committed to building affordable homes? Are we committed to trying to improve access for first-home buyers? Are we the Government that has built more houses than any other Government since the 1970s? The answer to that is yes.

Hon Simon Bridges: Is that a confirmation that the 100,000 houses in a decade commitment is now gone?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: No.

Hon Simon Bridges: Is it Phil Twyford who’s been reset?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: No.

Hon Simon Bridges: Then why did the housing Minister Phil Twyford say this morning, on that 100,000 commitment: “It’s like American nuclear ships in the 1980s. It’s a neither confirm nor deny situation.”?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: As I’ve just said, we are in the process of working through a KiwiBuild reset, but whilst we do so we are continuing to build houses. Again, as I’ve said many a time in this House, we are a Government building more houses than any other since the 1970s.

Hon Simon Bridges: When is the climb-down on her flagship policy of 100,000 houses in a decade going to be confirmed?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: (a waffly reply)

Hon Simon Bridges: How can she have confidence in Phil Twyford, when he’s seen only 80 KiwiBuild houses built so far and he won’t confirm her flagship policy of 100,000 houses?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Because we’ve built more State houses, more transitional houses, and housed more who have been homeless. We have also stopped the sale of residential housing to foreign buyers. We have also closed tax loopholes. We have made a difference to the housing market, and that is ultimately making a difference for families. We inherited a dire situation with our housing market, and we are turning it around.

Hon Simon Bridges: How about a straight answer to a straight question—

SPEAKER: Order! Order! The member will resume his seat. Now, he’ll stand up and he will ask a question properly.

Hon Simon Bridges: Is the 100,000 houses in a decade target gone?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: As I’ve already said to the member’s original question, we are working through our KiwiBuild reset. When we have completed that, we will be making announcements in due course.

Hon Simon Bridges: To be clear, has she had any input into the issue of removing the 100,000 KiwiBuild commitment in recent times?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: (a waffly reply)

Judith Collins also touched on it in question 6.

Hon Judith Collins: Will the recalibration of KiwBuild drop the additionality tests as well as the 100,000 houses target?

Hon PHIL TWYFORD: Well, I expect that in June we’ll be releasing the results of the reset of KiwiBuild, but I would say this to the member: this Government will not back away from building large numbers of affordable homes for Kiwis, building more State housing, reforming the rental market, housing homeless people, reforming the planning system and infrastructure financing—all of the things that are part of our housing programme that that party never did for nine years in office.

So Twyford did not challenge the suggestion that the 100,000 houses target might be dropped.

National have followed up on this line of attack. RNZ:  KiwiBuild ‘a broken promise’ – Bridges

The government has broken its flagship election promise on Kiwibuild and the Housing Minister should resign, National Party leader Simon Bridges says.

A question mark hangs over a core plank of KiwiBuild – with the government refusing to guarantee its promise to build 100,000 houses over 10 years.

“It was really Labour’s number one flagship promise,” Mr Bridges told Morning Report

“It was the big bold thing they were delivering.

“I’m absolutely certain it is a broken promise and half way through their term it is gone.”

Mr Bridges said if the target did go, Mr Twyford should resign.

While the target number may provide a target for National, it is missing the real target – the lack of availability of reasonably priced land to build on. When in Government National failed to deal with that. There is no sign of Labour dealing with it anywhere near adequately, all they seem to have done with Kiwibuild is put a different label on a continuation of similar means of building, but still with limited land supply.

I don’t think that 100,000 houses in ten years is important at all.

10,000 houses – that is additional houses, not just the Government taking over the development of houses that were being built anyway – in two years would still be underperforming but a big improvement.

National will no doubt claim a win if the 100,000/10 year target is dropped, but who trusts long term political promises?

But the fundamental failure continues – it is too hard to make more land available for building houses. And it looks like fixing that is in the too hard basket for this Government, like the last. What Labour labelled as a housing crisis is more of a crisis of timid government.

 

Leave a comment

18 Comments

  1. Duker

     /  9th May 2019

    Whats this: Bridges has frozen out Collins on housing issues?
    Is that his answer to getting above 6% – ‘stealing’ it from Collins.

    Reply
  2. Zedd

     /  9th May 2019

    The ‘kiwi build’ program is about trying to build & supply ‘affordable houses’ to kiwi families (1st home buyers) as opposed to 9 looooooong years of unrestricted ‘sell them all off to the highest bidder’ (foreign investors etc.) & driving UP the real estate prices, to create a ‘millionaires paradise’ beyond the reach of the majority !

    Meanwhile Natl also flogged off state houses & created a ‘housing crisis’ that they also constantly denied.

    NOW they are attacking this MMP Govt. for trying to fix the problems. I seem to remember the line ‘We are all becoming tenants/renters, in our own land’ Thx to Key & Co.

    “WAKE UP Bridges”.. we are not all living in the so-called ‘rock-star economy’ as was widely claimed during their time in Govt. In fact the Gap between rich & poor only got even wider.

    Jacinda & Co. are just trying to close it again !!

    btw: it sounds like Natl think, that if the target is not reached.. its a total failure & we would have ALL been better off with 3 more years under their cronyism.. “Mind the GAP” 😦 😦

    Reply
    • Zedd

       /  9th May 2019

      oh dear.. the ‘jolly Green cynic’ pops up again.. 😀 :/

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  9th May 2019

        National sold houses in expensive areas and built others on the proceeds. There is no point in having someone paying $25 a week for a house that could be sold for $1,000,000, when this could build several houses.

        Reply
  3. Duker

     /  9th May 2019

    That national broke every ‘housing promise’ it made over 9 years ( as noted by PG) seems to be of no consequence to Collins Bridges.

    The best one was the SHA or special housing areas , which also were to have a portion that was ‘low cost’.
    Firstly it was a way to blame the councils for foot dragging ( which they do do) so if the numbers ‘consented’ you could blame them.
    Surprise the consents for development were enormous ( over 50,000 new homes got development consent) but in reality it was a paper exercise as many developers got consent which pushed up the land price which they onsold.
    Most owners were cash poor to get beyond development consent to site construction consent ( roads , power, sewers stormwater etc) and start work. The final process was house/apartment consent on the developed land.
    Ene result , a fraction of new finished homes of the 50k consented by councils – some are just trickling through now and with extra costs for fences and paths using loopholes in nationals laws.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  9th May 2019

      I recall National getting constantly attacked for non-delivery on their promises to fix the housing crisis, & their claiming consent approval numbers were progress, but stuff-all houses were actually getting built.

      Labour’s plan to fix the housing crisis & build more affordable houses was over-promised & under-delivered in, so far, pretty spectacular fashion. It was a crucial policy pre-election. So it’s no surprise they’re now on the receiving end of equal criticism while they fluff about & everyone has to wait to see how much less they now plan to commit to.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  10th May 2019

        National continually denied there ever was a housing crisis.

        In opposition they acknowledge there is won.(accelerated by them of course).

        100,000 is irrelevant…bat critique away by saying it still stands.

        The ‘affordable’ part needs addressing.

        Reply
  4. Sunny

     /  9th May 2019

    (a waffly reply) , ” we will be making announcements in due course.” , “I was raised a mormon, then I was not a mormon, I let other people determine what that means.”

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  9th May 2019

      Key was famous for his word salad answers and ‘swapping of hats’ …. you seem to think its a new thing

      Reply
      • Kimbo

         /  9th May 2019

        So…whataboutism? In spite of the present incumbents insisting before the election they could and would solve the problem Key was alleged to have both caused and denied? 🙄

        And I don’t recall Key resorting to word salad with John Campbell in that interview over the GCSB Amendment Bill. Can’t have been, because the best his rabid opponents could do was shout “Liar, liar! Pants on fire!” 😀

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  9th May 2019

          Have you seen the list with over 100 of Keys greatest lies…..remember when he was only being ‘playful’ while harassing a waitress.

          Ah the GCSB spying promise:

          Asked if he and GCSB chief Ian Fletcher would resign if there were mass surveillance, he said yes.(2013)

          A new bill which gives New Zealand’s security and intelligence agencies more power to spy on Kiwis is likely to be introduced this week.
          Prime Minister John Key said the expansion of powers of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) was for good reason(.2016)

          I suppose he did resign 3 months later

          Reply
          • Kimbo

             /  9th May 2019

            Gotcha. So in this case I’ll mark you down as a “Liar, liar! Pants on fire!”, rather than “word salad answers and ‘swapping of hats” whataboutism. 🤣

            Reply
  5. David

     /  9th May 2019

    Someone needs to put together a compilation of Twyfords strident claims of Kiwibuild during his time in opposition.
    The equally funny thing is that the guy is clearly an epic fail but there is literally no one in Labour who could do a better job, none of the caucus has even raised their hand and spotted the opportunity to get ahead…pack of unambitious twats. Even the leader didnt want the top job but was the only one left and then she had to be forced into it by her media mates and the incumbent guy.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  9th May 2019

      I don’t believe that she was forced into it at all. I think that she jumped at it.

      Reply
    • Duker

       /  9th May 2019

      “Even the leader didnt want the top job but …”
      The exact words used by Bill English….but there you go..

      Reply
  6. Gezza

     /  9th May 2019

    TVNZ’s 1news at 6 really put the boot in to Phil Twyford over his 100k affordable homes in 10 years promise tonight, asking is he going to resign like he promised would if it couldn’t be met.

    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/more-criticism-levelled-government-over-kiwibuild

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  9th May 2019

      You resigned from national when all the roads of national significance weren’t completed

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  9th May 2019

        😳

        No I didn’t. I’m not even a member of any political party.

        Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s