INDEPENDENT NEWS

KiwiBuild programme losing another top boss

Published: Wed 21 Aug 2019 12:46 PM
KiwiBuild programme losing another top boss, Helen O'Sullivan
Craig McCulloch, Deputy Political Editor
The troubled KiwiBuild programme is losing another top boss with Helen O'Sullivan leaving at the end of the month.
A KiwiBuild home in Papakura. Photo: RNZ / Eva Corlett
The departure is yet another road bump on the government policy's difficult path and comes on the eve of its long-awaited "reset".
Ms O'Sullivan began a six-month contract as head of KiwiBuild Commercial in February, but the Housing Ministry has confirmed she has resigned and will depart a month early to take up a new job.
She was appointed to the position after the fractious exit of KiwiBuild's initial chief executive Stephen Barclay.
Mr Barclay was suspended in November last year after just five months in the position following complaints laid against him. He officially quit in January.
Brad Ward was named as the new head of the leadership team with Ms O'Sullivan overseeing the development and construction of KiwiBuild homes.
National housing spokesperson Judith Collins said Ms O'Sullivan's resignation was a "terrible look" after Mr Barclay's departure and proved the policy was beyond saving.
"Both only lasted a matter of months in their roles before they abandoned the sinking ship that is KiwiBuild - and who could blame them?
"How many more executives need to run for the lifeboats before the government realises that KiwiBuild is headed for the bottom of the ocean?"
The flagship policy has been beset by difficulties since soon after its launch and ultimately cost former Housing Minister Phil Twyford his portfolio.
Mr Twyford was stripped of his responsibility for KiwiBuild in a Cabinet reshuffle in June, with Megan Woods taking over as the new Housing Minister.
Ms Woods is now working on a long-promised reboot of the programme.
Mr Twyford first flagged that there would be a "recalibration" in January after admitting the government would fall far short of its first year target.
By July this year, 1000 homes were to be completed, with 100,000 to be built over a decade. So far, just 239 houses have been built.
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