Housing Minister Phil Twyford has admitted his KiwiBuild housing scheme is not nearly as popular as he or the Prime Minister have claimed it is, National’s Housing spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“According to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, contracts for 3,375 houses have been signed between KiwiBuild and a developer. But Mr Twyford has been forced to admit there are only 388 pre-qualified KiwiBuild applicants, having gone through the process required to buying a KiwiBuild home.
“The demand for KiwiBuild homes is so low that already a ballot has had to be extended.
“The Government is delivering KiwiBuild homes largely by buying houses ‘off the plans’. The Minister has confirmed the potential risk to the Crown if houses aren’t sold is $4 billion in just the first three years.
“If Mr Twyford can’t sell the houses he has bought off the plans the Government will be forced to pay this money. This will easily blow his $2 billion budget and cause the whole scheme to come crashing down.
“With this kind of taxpayer money on the line, New Zealanders want to know what independent valuations were done before he signed contracts to buy houses? What analysis of market demand was undertaken?
“The Minister has been clutching at straws to keep Labour’s flagship housing policy on life-support. In order to solve Mr Twyford’s problem of demand he has changed the terms of purchasing a KiwiBuild home.
“Instead of paying back the full profit if a buyer sold their home within five years, it’s now three years and only 30 per cent has to be paid back.
“Buyers can also purchase a home, fill it with tenants, keep the rent high and again, only pay 30 per cent of the rental income. There is no way KiwiBuild can monitor whether someone is living in their home or not. They can’t be peering through bedroom windows to check who’s living in the house.
“The whole scheme is complete shambles. Houses are too expensive and too small. The Minister isn’t building enough houses, he isn’t selling enough houses, and those few that are sold, aren’t going to the people that need them.
“KiwiBuild is a failed policy that was never properly thought through.”