After more than a year in Government and almost halfway through the first year of the KiwiBuild policy it has become clear that the Housing portfolio, headed by Minister Phil Twyford, is in complete disarray, National’s Housing spokesperson Judith Collins says.

“KiwiBuild is meant to have built 1000 homes by July next year, but at the moment Mr Twyford can only confirm 278 houses will be delivered by his deadline. His inability to deliver even half of the houses he has promised in the first year shows the entire KiwiBuild programme is in jeopardy.

“But the hits don’t stop there. Mr Twyford has also lost the Head of KiwiBuild. The one man who had direct contact with the Minister about the programme, hasn’t met with the Minister since early November.

“Perhaps he could see the KiwiBuild policy heading down the drain.

“Meanwhile, Mr Twyford is kicking landlords for touch in attempt to please tenants, but he’s hurting both in the process. The Government is championing policies that are directly resulting in rent rises. Today a law change has come into effect that is already seeing landlords encouraged to increase their rents.

“And now the Government has introduced a Bill that ring fences tax losses for rental properties which could push up rents another $300 a year.

“Inland Revenue says there could be about 40 per cent of private rental property owners who lose money every week expecting that loss to reduce their tax liability while hoping to sell in the future and make a capital gain.

“The Government thinks that gives landlords an unfair advantage over first-home buyers so they want to put a stop to it. But if rental property tax losses are ring-fenced, the rational option for negatively-geared owners is to sell now, further reducing the supply of rental properties.

“Owners may also choose to keep their rental property and simply increase the rent again.

“The Minister has no idea about the implications of his policies. Mr Twyford has told landlords to take their money elsewhere, and they are. His solution is his KiwiBuild programme, but it’s not delivering the number of houses or the type of houses to make any sort of difference.

“The Housing portfolio has a rudderless Minister at the helm. He continues to claim his KiwiBuild programme will deliver for first home buyers and his rental changes will deliver for tenants, neither of which is happening.”

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