24 May 2018

Labour and National go head to head over KiwiBuild

5:46 am on 24 May 2018

Housing minister Phil Twyford and National's Judith Collins have gone head to head in Parliament over the affordability of houses to be built under the government's flagship policy, KiwiBuild.

Phil Twyford

Phil Twyford Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

KiwiBuild is designed to help first home buyers, especially in Auckland, get into the property market. The aim is to build 100,000 affordable homes over the next 10 years.

Last week the government raised the maximum price for a three bedroom home in Auckland and Queenstown by $50,000, up to $650,000. It was done due to rising land prices and building costs.

Ms Collins asked whether there would be an income limit on people who would be able to purchase a Kiwibuild home.

In response, Mr Twyford said there was not one at present because Cabinet was still deciding on the exact rules.

Ms Collins asked him about an example of a New Zealand-born couple returning home from living overseas.

National Judith Collins 20 June 2017

Photo: VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox

Mr Twyford repeated there were no income limits because "the decision has not been made yet".

She then asked about other rules that could apply, including whether KiwiBuild home owners would be able to rent out rooms "for profit".

There were "only a few more sleeps" before he could answer such questions, Mr Twyford said.

There was controversy over his response to Treasury forecasts halving the early economic impact of Kiwibuild, at $2.5 billion over five years.

Mr Twyford questioned that analysis and said some of the "kids" at Treasury were "fresh out of university" and "disconnected from reality". That earned him a rebuke from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who said he had gone too far with the name calling.

Construction starts on the Kiwibuild project

Construction starts on the Kiwibuild project Photo: RNZ/ Sophia Duckor-Jones

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