19 Jan 2019

Industry expertise key in search for new KiwiBuild boss - expert

7:50 pm on 19 January 2019

The new boss of KiwiBuild will need extensive experience of the sector, a construction industry leader says.

Construction starts on the Kiwibuild project

The location of KiwiBuild homes is one of the uncertainties the construction sector is facing, an industry leader says. Photo: RNZ/ Sophia Duckor-Jones

The head of KiwiBuild, Stephen Barclay, resigned yesterday, after being absent from the job for two months due to an employment dispute.

Building Industry Federation chief executive Bruce Kohn said it was critical that KiwiBuild got a new boss with considerable and varied experience in the construction industry.

He said there were still several uncertainties about how the KiwiBuild programme would operate.

"There's a few queries that still sit out there both in relation to the supply chain and how ordering is going to be done for products and that sort of thing," Mr Kohn said.

"Equally the programme for house building - again certainty of numbers and where that building is going to take place."

The government has promised to build 100,000 new homes for first home buyers over the next decade, meaning a significant workload for the building industry.

Stephen Barclay, head of the KiwiBuild unit.

Former KiwiBuild boss Stephen Barclay. Photo: Supplied

Meanwhile, the exact details of Mr Barclay's resignation have not yet been made public.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford's office said yesterday he would not be commenting on Mr Barclay's resignation as it was an employment matter.

Last month, Mr Twyford confirmed that Mr Barclay had not been at work for a number of weeks.

RNZ reported that Mr Barclay's absence arose from an employment dispute following the KiwiBuild unit's transfer to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

The resignation "does not bode well" for KiwiBuild, which "has already shown itself to be a much more difficult beast than Phil Twyford, or the government seem to anticipate," National Party housing spokesperson Judith Collins said in a statement.

"It's taken three months for Mr Barclay to exit from a role he held for only four months," Ms Collins' statement read.

"Mr Twyford needs to come clean. How much has this employment issue cost New Zealand taxpayers?"

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