The cost of Housing Minister Phil Twyford’s flagship housing scheme KiwiBuild has been woefully underestimated, National Party Leader Simon Bridges says.
“Documents released to National show KiwiBuild will cost 10 times more than what Labour calculated and announced in Opposition. This raises serious questions about the credibility of KiwiBuild.
“Earlier this year the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) advised Mr Twyford that the $2 billion budget was only enough to build 1,000 houses a year under Labour’s original model.
“But Labour has promised it would build 10,000 homes a year by the end of its first term in office. Rather than increasing the budget 10-fold, Labour has shifted the policy from KiwiBuild to KiwiBuy and is underwriting private developers to build the houses for them.
“Labour had nine years in Opposition to come up with policies. It’s unbelievable that one of its flagship policies that it campaigned on in the election was miscalculated by such a huge amount.
“We’re not talking about a small error, Labour underestimated its flagship housing policy by $18 billion dollars.
“Taxpayers are forking out for a housing subsidy scheme for middle to high income earners.
“This adds to the headaches KiwiBuild is already causing the Government. Houses are not being built in the right places, at the right size, for the right price, which means they’ll have to be sold for less than what the Crown paid for them.
“MBIE also advised there was a high risk that there won’t be enough buyers for the KiwiBuild homes the Government is underwriting. This is clear already with one of the first ballots for a KiwiBuild home already extended due to a lack of interest.
“MBIE expects the cost of the underwriting scheme to go into the hundreds of millions, or possibly billions, over the next 10 years. This is a huge under-estimation from the Government.
“KiwiBuild hasn’t been properly thought through and it’s costing taxpayers millions more than first announced.”