It is becoming increasingly confusing to figure out the level of rigour being applied by KiwiBuild officials before Phil Twyford gets out his chequebook, National’s Housing spokesperson Judith Collins says.
“The Minister of Housing and Urban Development has already spent $660 million taxpayer dollars on buying and underwriting KiwiBuild homes, and I’m very concerned about how much meaningful change his spending is actually having on the housing market.
“The Minister has said housing developments must satisfy an ‘additionality test’ in order to get a KiwiBuild subsidy. The idea is that the taxpayer cash injection will either speed up the delivery of those developments or see them redesigned to include more affordable houses.
“But when KiwiBuild swooped in to buy the 19-house Mason Square development in Otahuhu, all of those houses were already well under construction and 10 of them had already been completed.
“How can houses be redesigned or completed faster when they’ve already been completed?
“What’s more is the price of those homes didn’t drop a single cent from what they were being marketed at before KiwiBuild came calling – and only one of the houses offered for sale six months ago has actually sold.
“The Minister may well argue that buying the Otahuhu houses freed up the developer to get on with other things, but people can’t live inside good intentions, and the Otahuhu development looks like little more than a wasted subsidy at this point.”