Mike's Minute: No magic trick will save KiwiBuild

Author
Mike Hosking,
Section
Video,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 7:35AM

COMMENT:

The Government's underwrite KiwiBuild trigger has been pulled again. This is the second time, and this time it is seven homes in Christchurch and Auckland.

Under KiwiBuild rules, if a developer's house doesn't sell within 60 days, they can get the Government to buy it off them. That's you and me buying houses we don't need, because the whole concept of KiwiBuild was a cock-up from day one.

Why aren't these homes selling in a housing crisis? Well because there wasn't, and isn't, a housing crisis. That is a political term invented by Labour when in opposition for cheap points.

Further, the houses for sale aren't affordable. If they were, they would have sold. They are basically market-priced and therefore compete with every other house on the open market.

The current climate is subdued, and it's subdued in no small part due to the fact the government that built the houses, spooked the market, and introduced a series of policies that spooked the economy.

Hence the lack of confidence, hence the slowdown in growth, hence the slowdown in housing, hence the lack of sales.

Treasury, need I remind everyone, told us early on the homes weren't affordable, and only a third of those who could even think of applying had the income to support the mortgages that would be required.

Further, and I hate to kill the Government's major idea with facts, but the number of first home buyers currently in the market is as high as it has ever been. In fact, in many areas it's at record levels.

That perhaps indicates the so-called "locked out" weren't locked out at all - they were just busy getting on with buying a house.

Not many of them turned out to be built by poor old Phil Twyford, who must surely be in line for a major re-shuffle after the Budget when the Prime Minister re-jigs her Cabinet.

Presumably she'll remodel along the lines of capability and progress, as opposed to length of service, dedication, and idealistic clap-trap that doesn't turn out to be real. Mind you, given the way she's handled Twyford's mess to this point, not to mention Lees-Galloway and Curran, who can tell? He might be promoted.

Anyway, back to the houses. They have built next to none of them. Not the 1000 promised in year one, not even 100. At last count, 70-something. Of those 70-something, 40-something were already under construction under National, so they've built next to none.

At least a dozen or so haven't even sold, and have now been bought by us, thus taking away from the original plan, which was to use the money from the sales to build more houses. You can't use money you don't have, from sales that never happened, can you Phil?

I cannot wait to hear the details of the KiwiBuild reset which allegedly is due any day now. I suspect it will be released on a Friday at five o'clock after we've gone to the pub, so they can pray they bury it for the weekend.

But I doubt Houdini, Copperfield, and Penn and Teller all working together could pull this particular rabbit out of the shambles of a hat Twyford's left with.

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