The Opposition has slammed Housing Minister Phil Twyford for being in the job for 145 days and not producing a single KiwiBuild home.
But Twyford and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern say there is an “extensive pipeline” of houses on the way and new KiwiBuild announcements are “imminent.”
On Tuesday, National’s Housing Spokeswoman Judith Collins used her first question in the new role to needle Twyford on the Government’s progress on its flagship project.
“How many KiwiBuild houses have been built in the 145 days he has been in Government?” she asked.
Twyford said it is “the same as the number of cars that she crushed,” a nod to her bill, turned law, allowing boy racers' cars to be crushed after multiple infringements.
Although he wouldn’t say the words in the House, he told media earlier in the day the number was zero at this stage.
He says the KiwiBuild programme kicks in on July 1 this year, with details of a $2 billion appropriation to be announced in the Budget.
After that, Twyford expects roughly 1000 KiwiBuild homes in the first year, 5,000 in the second year, and 10,000 in the third year.
Collins says this amounts to just 1000 KiwiBuild homes by June 30, 2019 – almost two years after Labour was elected to Government.
“That’s almost two years for a relatively small subdivision in Auckland,” she told Interest.co.nz.
But Twyford says the Government is working with the private sector on plans to buy and underwrite KiwiBuild properties off the plan.
“Our land for housing programme is working with third-party developers to develop vacant Crown land and private land that's been acquired for that purpose and we're building KiwiBuild homes on Housing New Zealand land that's been developed, and we've got large-scale urban development projects underway that will include thousands of KiwiBuild houses.”
Collins says this is not actually adding anything – “it’s bludging off the private sector.”
National Party leader Simon Bridges also had a crack in Wednesday’s Question Time, asking when the first KiwiBuild house will “actually be built.”
Ardern responded by saying announcements on this are “imminent.”
She did not go into any more detail.