Housing Minister Phil Twyford has thrown in the towel on his promise his Government would build 100,000 houses with yet another plea to the private sector for help, National’s Housing and Urban Development spokesperson Judith Collins says,

“Mr Twyford’s announcement today that he would ‘invite companies to express their interest in setting up or expanding off-site manufacturing factories’ for houses is nothing more than another idea on the never-never, and another admission he can’t deliver on his promises.

“It’s not that pre-fabrication is a bad idea, and National supports efforts to build more houses.

“But KiwiBuild was first announced in 2012. Now six years later and after eight months in Government his grand plan amounts to a plea to the private sector to bail him out at some point down the track.   

“After six years and eight months he can’t answer basic questions like how the industry would be funded, how the industry and buyers would get around bank lending restrictions, how he would free up land to build houses on and how he would get around his Government’s immigration chaos to find the construction workforce needed.

“His only hope is that the private sector he has so consistently disparaged will have the answers. Given this Government’s reliance on reviews and working groups – more than 120 and counting - that’s not surprising.

“But today’s half-thought through announcement comes after he had already resorted to buying houses off developers which would have been built anyway, simply so he could rebrand them ‘KiwiBuild’. There are currently 18 of his promised 100,000 under construction – all of which would have been built anyway.

“Finally, we also saw a huge about-face from the Government which also confirmed apartment developments underwritten by the taxpayer will include apartments which will be sold to foreigners.

“Mr Twyford has spent years claiming he would build 100,000 affordable houses for New Zealanders, no ifs or buts. Now his KiwiBuild pipedream has descended into farce.

“Meanwhile the construction sector is grinding to a halt because of the confusion Mr Twyford has created, and his Government’s promises to drastically limit foreign investment and immigration.

“This is off the back of record levels of residential building construction under the previous National Government, with 200,000 forecast to be built over six years when we left office.

“All of that progress is being thrown out in favour of ill-thought through plans and cries for help from a minister who continues to show he’s just not up to it. Unfortunately New Zealanders are paying the price.”

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