Peters contradicts Ardern and Twyford on KiwiBuild target

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
Politics,
Publish Date
Thursday, 24 January 2019, 12:45PM
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said he believed the Government could still reach its 1000 target by July. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said he believed the Government could still reach its 1000 target by July. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has contradicted both the Prime Minister and the Housing Minister over their admission the Government will fall short of its first-year KiwiBuild target.

Yesterday, Housing Minister Phil Twyford admitted only 300 KiwiBuild houses would be built by July – he had previously promised 1000.

He said he was "pretty gutted" the Government would miss its target.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told media in Davos the Government was still building affordable houses – "just not as fast as we want and as many as what we want as quickly as we want."

But speaking to reporters at Rātana today, Peters contradicted Twyford's projection.

Asked by a reporter if he thought the Government would still be able to get to its 1000 KiwiBuild homes target by July, he said, "I believe so, yes."

"We're not giving up at all – we've got six months to wind this up as fast as we can, and practically we will."

Although he offered few details on how he expected the target to be met, he said there were still practical men and women who would "get on with the job and get it done – and get it done we are".

In fact, he said getting KiwiBuild back on track was a top priority for the Government.

"We're [Cabinet Ministers] going to recommit ourselves in our first Cabinet meeting to getting this [KiwiBuild] thing back on track."

Asked then if this means Twyford was wrong in making his 300 KiwiBuild houses projection, Peters did not directly answer the question.

"We're all part of a Government, we're all part of a minister's portfolio, we don't operate separately; not me in Foreign Affairs, not Phil in Housing or in Transport."

He said Twyford's admission did not mean the KiwiBuild project was a failure.

"The reality is there are many in this Government who are seriously going to be practically committed to ensure we do meet our targets."

The reason the KiwiBuild was so far behind schedule was because the buying off the plans scheme had hit a snag, Twyford said.

Yesterday, Twyford told the Herald the Government remained confident it would still achieve its 100,000 homes over 10 years promise.

As well as targeting 1000 KiwiBuild homes by July 2019, Twyford had previously committed to building 10,000 in 2020/21 and 12,000 every year after that until 2028.

Asked if those targets were still in place, he said he "hasn't looked at that" and would not be making statements about whether or not those targets would be met.

"Targets are targets – they're something you set out to achieve but not things you can guarantee. We're not stepping away from those targets."

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