INDEPENDENT NEWS

Government scraps KiwiBuild in all but name

Published: Wed 4 Sep 2019 02:35 PM
Judith Collins - Housing and Urban Development
4 September 2019
The long-awaited KiwiBuild reset has proven to be a damp squib, with all the elements that made the policy unique now consigned to the rubbish bin, National’s Housing spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“It’s pretty easy to achieve targets when there aren’t any, which appears to be the Government’s strategy on housing. This shouldn’t surprise given how averse it is to setting measurable targets in other areas like health and education.
“New Zealanders who dream of home ownership will feel justifiably let down by the KiwiBuild reset. The three key elements are gone – there’s no 100,000 homes target, price caps have been loosened and the asset test for ‘second chancers’ is no more.
“There were no new initiatives to speed up the delivery of houses. All we got from the new Housing Minister was a commitment to try harder. What are prospective first-home buyers supposed to do with that? It’s meant to be KiwiBuild, not KiwiHope.
“This is a massive retreat from the flashy promises that Labour fooled the public with for so many years. If they had taken this watered-down policy to the last election they would have been laughed out of town.
“More details are needed around the Government’s progressive ownership schemes. There may be some merit in this approach, but the devil is always in the detail – and Labour’s policies have a habit of being light on detail.
“For months I questioned whether the Government had robust processes in place to ensure houses were being built where there was need. Megan Woods now admits that wasn’t the case and the taxpayer has underwritten $200 million worth of houses that can’t be sold.
“At least, after two years in Government, Labour has finally figured out it should be building houses where people want them, not just wherever developers have spare land.
“Real change on housing will require RMA reform to eliminate red tape and bring down the cost of building for everyone. National invited Labour to work bipartisanly on this, but instead they set up a working group that won’t report back until it is too late to make changes in this term of government.
“Labour talked a big game on housing but has failed to deliver meaningful change. The only KiwiBuild target still standing is the one on the Government’s back if it doesn’t get this right.”
ends

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