The head of KiwiBuild, Stephen Barclay, has resigned after less than eight months in the role.
The CEO of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Andrew Crisp, at lunchtime today (Friday) received a letter from Barclay, which said his resignation would take immediate effect.
Crisp says he's "considering how this affects the employment process currently underway" and will make no further comment.
A spokesperson for Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford says the Minister can't comment either as the matter is an "employment issue".
Media reports in December suggested Barclay had been off work since about the beginning of November due to an employment dispute.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last month swatted away questions on Barclay, but said Crisp had advised her his absence had nothing to do with the KiwiBuild policy or the implementation of the KiwiBuild programme.
National's Housing spokesperson Judith Collins has today been quick to criticise the Government, saying Twyford needs to "come clean".
"How much has this employment issue cost New Zealand taxpayers? Kiwis deserve to know how many months the Government has been paying Mr Barclay, especially if it was to the end of his contract," she says.
“It’s taken three months for Mr Barclay to exit from a role he held for only four months. This is extraordinary and needs a full explanation from Mr Twyford, and whether it was due to a relationship breakdown.
“If, as the Minister has said, the situation involving Mr Barclay taking leave would make no difference to KiwiBuild, then why was the role created in the first place at what is, no doubt, a huge expense?
“KiwiBuild has been fraught with issues from the beginning with houses just not selling. Despite significant changes by the Minister to encourage sales, the policy isn’t working.
“The KiwiBuild scheme is now almost a year in, and, following the resignation of its Head less than a year after he was appointed, these issues can no longer be described as ‘teething’."
Barclay's career spans construction, consulting, event management and government. Before taking up the KiwiBuild role, he was 'Chief People and Transformation Officer' at the Ministry of Health. Prior to that he was CEO of the San Francisco America's Cup Events Authority.