Housing Minister Phil Twyford refuses to confirm whether 'KiwiBuild recalibration' will include 100,000 house target; expresses interest in using shared equity schemes to get people into KiwiBuild houses

Housing Minister Phil Twyford refuses to confirm whether 'KiwiBuild recalibration' will include 100,000 house target; expresses interest in using shared equity schemes to get people into KiwiBuild houses

Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford is no longer throwing his full support behind the target of building 100,000 KiwiBuild houses within 10 years of taking office.

Speaking to interest.co.nz, he couldn’t confirm nor deny whether the target would remain in the “KiwiBuild recalibration” he expected to reveal in mid-June.

Twyford said the target was something he’d been “looking at” and would say more about when he announced the reset.

“It’s like American nuclear ships in the 1980s. It’s a neither confirm nor deny situation,” Twyford said.

Told that if the 100,000-house target was staying, one would expect him to simply confirm this, he responded: “No, I wouldn’t read that in to it…

“I’m not going to reveal the policy decisions now.”

‘We’re looking at the entire housing programme’

Twyford in January got to work on a “recalibration”. While he said he’d scrapped the flagship programme’s targets for this electoral term, he remained committed to the overall 100,000-house target.  

Asked what was the hold-up announcing the reset, which he in April told reporters wasn’t far off, he said he wasn’t looking at KiwiBuild in isolation.

“We’re looking at the entire housing programme, which is a big comprehensive programme that goes right from trying to house homeless people, right through to our growth agenda, the reform of the planning system, infrastructure financing and everything in between, and we’re taking time to get it right.

“I think we’ve pretty much landed it, but we’re in the pre-Budget period right now, so we’re going to do a little bit more work on it.”

Asked to specify where the hold-ups were, Twyford said, “It’s a big complex beast…

“We’ve got a programme of work that’s got six, eight different components. How they all interact with each other, the support we give to first home buyers, trying to work with developers to get them to build more affordable homes – we’re looking at a whole range of things.”

Heightened focus on rental affordability

“KiwiBuild was first designed at a time where people were very, very focussed on first home buyers in the expensive markets like Auckland. That’s changed now.

“One of the striking things about housing in New Zealand now is the stress on renters in a number of different parts of the country.”

Asked to clarify whether his focus was changing, Twyford reiterated he was looking at “the whole housing programme and where KiwiBuild sits within it”.

“We’re not going to step away from our commitment to help first home buyers, nor to increase the supply of housing and the supply of affordable housing.”

He acknowledged it was “a big concern” KiwiBuild had only delivered homes to 71 homeowners.

Shared equity and rent-to-buy schemes eyed

Further to the Welfare Expert Advisory Group last Friday suggesting the Government consider shared equity schemes, Twyford said he was “very interested” in scaling up shared equity programmes, which could even be used to help first home buyers get in to KiwiBuild homes.

He said there was interest among banks, non-profit community groups and iwi.

“There’s some really good thinking going on and we’re looking at how government can be part of that and how we might be able to help people scale up some of these programmes.”

Against a backdrop of the Group recommending the government get involved in rent-to-buy schemes, Twyford again mentioned how renters were in his sights.

“We need to provide more and better options that provide security of tenure for people who are renters.”

HUDA on track

In terms of progress getting the Housing and Urban Development Authority up and running, Twyford expected to have legislation introduced to Parliament by late-May/early-June, so the Authority could be established by October. 

A second, more complex bill dealing with the Authority's special powers will be introduced to Parliament in a few months' time. 

The aim of the Authority is to give central government the power to override local planning rules to build houses fast in designated areas. See this story for more on what's been proposed. 

Twyford in the interview also addressed the Opposition's concerns around the criteria developers need to meet to have their work underwritten by taxpayers through KiwiBuild being too loose. Watch the video for more. 

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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10
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Great interview Jenee; clearly a great depth of understanding of the topic and issues, and probing questions.
One notable comment was reference by Twyford to "stresses on renters". As previously posted, this will be the coming major housing affordability issue.
For the cynic in me: For those who haven't the time to watch the 12 minute interview, Twyford's response to KiwiBuild issues in summary is: "Its failed, we are uncertain where to next."

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Labour’s clear objective re KiwiBuild was to win the 2017 General Election. (It was much less to do with alleviating the housing crisis.)

As a political ploy, KiwiBuild was successful - and stunningly so.

TTP

No, I think they actually intended to help.. they just can't organise a piss up in a brewery. To much consultation and not enough this is the way its going to be, get on with it and quit moaning.

Kiwibuild would have had some limited success had house prices kept rising, but once that stopped, it was rendered pointless. They definitely would be better to have gone on a massive social housing build rather than that, probably should have had one or two more options to put on the table to cover different contingencies.
The Nats were probably no more capable, but we will never know, because they never bloody tried to do anything.

I doubt that the collation government would NOT achieve anything even if they were given three terms to govern. That may apply to the National as well.

Politicians in NZ are currently elected based on their appearance not on their ability to provide directions and solutions.

It seems a bit of a push to say anyone voted for John Key for his looks...

I know a number of women who were pretty swoony over him

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"One of the striking things about housing in New Zealand now is the stress on renters"

That's gotta be a No Schist Sherlock moment, given that Gubmint 'initiatives' have targeted the private rental market Relentlessly: let's count some of the ways:

  • Rental WOF although as this is left in the hapless hands of the Clueless Councils, a wildly uneven application
  • Removal of depreciation expense for tax liability calculation
  • Alterations to tenancy laws which on balance favour tenants
  • Removal of insulation and heating grants while insisting, via Healthy Homes legislation, that warmth, damp, mould etc become a Landlord, not a Tenant, issue
  • Elfin Safety imposts for repairs (e.g. scaff for work over 2m in the air)
  • A resolute refusal of liability for Council-caused damage (e.g. Christchurch's sudden chlorination has resulted in thousands of HWC's going Poof! but zero recompense - replacements average $2-3K a pop

And then the Gubmint wallahs gape in wonderment as rents go up, landlords become extra-picky aboot renters, and 'rental stress' emerges.....

No sane tenant was ever going to pay to insulate their landlords house, so the healthy homes legislation was the only way that was going to be addressed, and ditto with some of the damp/mould situations.
Several years ago when I was single and looking for a place of my own I visited several places that were offered for rent. Basement units with essentially no ventilation at all, sometimes an extractor fan in the bathroom, mostly not, just a tiny louvered window in the bathroom if that. There is no way a tenant could keep those warm and dry in winter while working a normal 40 hour week.. you leave home as the sun is barely up, and return in the dark. Airing out for a few hours every weekend by leaving the door open and a fan running was the only way you could try to keep those sh*tholes anywhere near healthy, that simply isn't adequate.

The issue is not limited to renters though.

It is the NZ housing stock itself that is the problem, because;
a) We build poorly designed houses, using poorly designed materials, unfit for the climate, geology, and general location (think shady side of the bottom of a valley and away from transport, schools, and jobs.)
b) the costs to improve/upgrade/rectify are idiotic

Soon "ex rental" will be the must have on a new buyers list, as they will be the only properties that are habitable.

Owners can invest in their own house, there is nothing stopping them. Unlike renters who would be insane to invest several thousand dollars in somebody elses property (and thats assumming the landlord would let them), and then likley get evicted because the landlord can now rent it out and charge the next tenant more because its just be insulated..

as for your points
A) yes, we used to. Things are much better these days.
b) yes, anything involving permits/councils is ridiculous, but AFAIK you don't require interfacing with the council to pull down the existing gib and stuffing the walls full of insulation then relining.

Noncents, we are not building poorly designed and build homes nowadays, that has improved but yes we do still have wast quantities of old housing stock that is sub-standard.

We said that in the 80s (Duxquest), we said that in the 90s (cladding/internal guttering), we said that in the 00s (more leaky buildings) we said that in the 10s (dodgy concrete and steel), we will say that in the 20s.

Most new houses only have a 10 year warranty. I can get a car with the same.

We do not build houses here to last. Which is fine, but we have to accept that if we are only building them for 10-20 years. Then they need to be a helluva lot cheaper.

A building consent will not be approved if a house does not have a minimum life expectancy of 50 years. I'm an Architect

A building consent will not be approved if a house does not have a minimum life expectancy of 50 years. I'm an Architect

Most of the stuff mentioned in my first post was consented, approved, had ticks coming out the wazoo. But 5-10 years in and the places were/are toast. Interestingly, no liability anywhere.

So:
1. what defines minimum life expectancy, and
2. why isn't it guaranteed?

Without any disrespect, as an architect - would you stand by your work for 50 years? would the project manager? the main contractor/builder? the subbies? the material suppliers? The council?...

If the answer is no, then I think we can all agree the minimum life expectancy of the house is a lot less than 50 years.

Architect or not we had decades of leaky homes built that are going to last nowhere near 50 years. Mine was pretty much stuffed at 30 years and it was not even leaky. All the known leaky homes should have had a wrecking ball put through them within 5 to 10 years.

Add ringfencing into the mix.

No, that had to happen. It was fuelling the property ponzi. Why should people who were making silly amounts of money of property speculation but running them at a loss on the income side of things be further able to reduce the tax paid on their day job to nothing?

One big fail. Very disappointing.

Perhaps the upside of such a big fail is that they have now been forced to throw it out and start again – rather than just fiddling around if it had been “kind of” working.

With respect to the review of various issues in relation to the Building Act and associated regulations there's nothing in there that will help bring down house prices. There's going to be a lot of action but not in the areas people anticipate as I am going to be more involved than I was in the Building Bill 2003.

Blah blah blah blah blah blah… what a waste of time this interview is ( not because of Jenée). Let's be honest and upfront; BUILDING 100'000 AFORDABLE HOMES IS AN ABJECT FAILURE! Twyford delivered…71 of them, yep, not a typo, SEVENTY ONE houses only so far.

The big deception is that it was THE MAJOR ELECTION PROMISE

Trying hard, giving it your best but still falling short I can live with, it's the nature of politics that not everything you will have a crack at fully works. But in respect of Twyford it's the dismissive contempt with which he bagged the housing fail of the previous govt and his know it all bombast that gets up the nose of kiwis. This may have finally dawned on him judging by his current attempts to moderate his Cunliffe style abrasiveness; with limited success. Phil's housing portfolio failures will shortly see him 'pursuing other career opportunities' within this year of delivery government.

"Trying Hard" = 71 houses in 18 months. when The Minister of Housing and Urban Development have spent $660million!!! on buying and underwriting those houses. I truly don't have publishable words for how inept they are. They could have just bought 1000 houses on open market for that and given them away. FUBAB

Foyle. Yep, failure doesn't come much more dismal than this Twyford try hard shambles. But this int.co probing interview is an exception to otherwise generally tame media treatment of this inadequate minister. Compare the media hounding that the previous housing minister Smith received. And contrast the constant bagging of health minister Ryall over failures at the Canterbury DHB, with the way the MSM has been so low key about failures at the Waikato DHB under David Clark.

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Can't build 100,000 homes in 10 years but net immigration is about .. 70,000 per year?

Phil Twyford is a Mathmagician!

Steven Joyce must be his brother from a different mother. Neither of them can count.

Coalition are actually setting record highs in immigration; 9400 in february, 8800 in January. Just another broken election promise (10000 annual NZF, 20-30000 annual reduction Labour). Poverty reduction (poverty has increased). No national strikes on my watch (ha). Billion trees (a joke). "Most open and transparent government ever" (truly comic). 1800 more police (might get half that). Kiwibuild omnishambles. Only thing that Coalition have delivered is rising road toll, rising unemployment, fast rising number of public servants (>5% in 1 year), rising beneficiary numbers, industry destruction (oil and gas) and worse economic performance (Just 1.8% GDP growth for last half year, and highest trade deficits in a decade). But Jacinda's engaged!!! Yay!

So, rent controls?

Seriously Phil, why don’t you just admit it that you really can’t do anything about building affordable homes and stop spurting out stuff that you have no expertise in?
I thought this government was meant to be transparent and yet they are the total opposite.
The wheels are falling off big time.
How can any coalition supporter think that Mr Twyford is competent.
Nothing but clap trap

Agree. I voted Labour and am seriously disappointed. I never thought 100k was credible but I did think they would achieve MUCH more than they have done.

It's not that Phil Twyford can't do something about affordable housing, it's that he won't. He is not prepared to make the changes that would have a real effect.

And what changes exactly are those? Interested in what your silver bullet for this problem is.

From what I have seen, there is a lot of arrogance at play and a lack of interest in taking on ideas that are not owned by the Minister or the bureaucracies.

Well the real silver bullets are:

1) Stop or greatly reduce immigration.

If not then:

2) Zone heaps more land for residential development.

And regardless of 1 or 2 above:

3) Remove most of the council planning rules that make development so hard. Not the building code, just the planning rules. The UHA will have the ability to skirt these rules (which tells you where a large chunk of the problem is) but it's taking forever for that to actually eventuate.

Yep.
And Phil said he would do 2 and 3 - and hasn't. He talks a good talk but doesn't walk it.
And his party said they would do 1 (at least reduce immigration, if not stop it)
Along with light rail disappearing down a hole this year seems like the 'year of non-delivery' from this inept government.
In the article Twyford says the UDA will be operational in October this year. I've heard from good sources that it will be late 2020 at the earliest (in terms of fully operational)

We need a Kiwibuild 'Houses Built' clock or counter or whatever.

Which someone updates every few days (what am I saying, weeks) with the latest tally.

I will gladly do it.....................................100K per year..........only a dollar per house or part thereof. (some hopes...plus inflation, plus population explosion).

Shared equity schemes pumped house prices even more in the UK. They are literally cancer.

They just further enriched homeowners and screwed the people they were "supposed" to help.

For the love of God don't make the same mistake in New Zealand. Twyford should be called out on this.

Politics is a long hard listen to a string of broken promises & bullshit - or lies depending on your view point. Politicians should be banned, like free speech. Yeah right!

I have said it before and will say it again. The government needs to build market rate rental housing as well as social. It would provide the supply needed and provide tenants with a stable and reliable landlord.

The NZPIF disagree, and will vehemently shout that the state should not be involved in any private industry.

If the govt built market rental housing then they would see their investments paid off within 20 years, and after that it would be revenue.
There would be much better security for tenants, even if the rents weren’t lower.
Sure it would need supporting tenant management ‘infrastructure’, but so what.
If it’s needed, it’s needed.

1) glad to see kiwibuild being seen in a wider context. Its really middle class welfare & the government shouldn't be involved.

2) The governments main role is to free up the RMA & get the housing supply increased & provide housing for the poor (this seems to be the wider context).

3) Rent to buy - good to see, but doesn't do enough if the housing supply is still constrained.

4) Of course rents are too high. When the housing supply is too low both owners and renters are hammered. Its becoming worse for renters as other government policies are decreasing investment housing.

Sort of Agree, the govt has just proved yet again that it is incompetent when it comes to trying to compete with the private sector. A large part of that is probably due to lack of commercial experience and delivering on anything for Labour/Greens/NZF, but is also a huge culture problem for monopolistic public service employees.
Govt should focus on removing impediments to cheaper housing - excessive regulation, lack of infrastructure, cartels/monopolies in building supplies. Nobody else can fix those problems

The government needs to lose its obsession on ownership.

If we are to accept that, then tenancy laws need running through the shredder and a complete rewrite to reflect that people will be lifetime renters. In that case we will need lifetime rentals, dedicated, so that people can lease long term and even onsell the lease, something more akin to commercial tenancies. The way we do it now is abysmal and suited only to short term renting, as we used to do, just to tide us over till we bought our own homes.

Agree. But it’s also addressed if the government gets involved in market-rental housing as well as social housing.
It would lift the game of the private sector if the government provided well maintained and managed, and very secure, market rental housing.

I do not know why we think we need to keep the population burgeoning as it is. It is a mad ponzi in a world that needs us to taihoa on growth for quite a long time.