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Mike's Minute: People are waking up to the sham of KiwiBuild

Mike Hosking ,
Publish Date
Monday, 12 November 2018, 8:32AM

The Housing Minister can be grateful that his immigration counterpart is currently immersed in the Government's biggest shambles.

Because if it wasn’t for Iain Lees-Galloway, and his nightmare of the Sroubek decision, then Phil Twyford would be front and centre and getting a great deal more attention than he is, over what is increasingly looking like one of this Government's potentially most damaging policies.

Here are some numbers I doubt many of us were aware of, there are only 338 qualified buyers so far. That's it.

You would have heard of the thousands that applied, of course. The Government wanted you to hear that. The thousands that signed up for the updates, the thousands that showed an interest. But an interest isn't a deposit, it isn't a deal, and it certainly isn't a sale.

That number is 338, and ballots have had to be extended because of lack of interest.

And why? Well, because as we have also told you, and these past two weeks have revealed it, Kiwibuild is not the scheme it was portrayed as, it is not for the low-waged, the locked out, it is not the social housing programme it was painted.

It's for the middle class, six-figure salary earners, graduate doctors, the marketing executives, and once Treasury did the numbers the scam was exposed.

Only one-third of people could ever possibly afford the $650,000 price tag for a three or four bedroom home.

Of course, lots of people wanted a house, but you need well in excess of $100,000 of income to pay for it, and there are not many of those people out there.

And that’s before you get to the bit where, if you do have that sort of money, the market has hundreds of other options for you already. In Auckland alone, a week or so back when I checked, had over 900 listings. You don’t need Twyford's ballot, there are 900-plus other options you already had your name pulled out for. It's called the open market.

So reality has hit, 338 set to go. The upside is only 18 houses have actually been built.

But, when that number hits the thousands, and Twyford doesn’t have qualified buyers, then what? Who buys the house? Remembering, of course, that Twyford said the money from the sales would be ploughed back into more homes.

What if there are no sales, because there is no demand? Who buys the houses? Who pays the builders? We do, that’s who.

And that is your budget blown. Unless the demand suddenly appears from nowhere or the Government starts creating a new class of customer by way of subsidy or split equity, they are going to end up with hundreds, if not thousands of houses, with no one lined up to buy them.

If this had been a social housing programme it would be different. But it isn't, it's a commercial development that competes with every other house for sale.

If it looked this ugly this early I'd be panicking. The promise, 100,000 homes, the queue so far, 338. You do the math.

ON AIR: Overnight Talk

12AM - 5AM