30 Jan 2019

Ardern discuss KiwiBuild, insurance at first post-Cabinet briefing of 2019

4:51 pm on 30 January 2019

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern fronts media in her first post-Cabinet press conference of the year where discussions included the KiwiBuild target.

Watch the prime minister and Finance Minister Grant Robertson at the press conference:

"We are building houses" - Ardern

The prime minister has told media in the first post-Cabinet briefing of the year that she wishes the government was building houses at a much faster pace than it is.

"We don't apologise for the fact that we are tackling the housing crisis head-on and we are building houses," Ms Ardern said.

"Evidence to date is that the pace isn't as quick as we would like."

But she said the government was only six months into the process.

"It's a housing crisis and it is difficult."

The prime minister said issues with Stephen Barclay's former employment as KiwiBuild boss was something for the State Services Commission to deal with.

This morning, fog in Wellington cancelled flights and suspended takeoffs in the capital and many ministers weren't able to make it to their 11am meeting.

"We actually are expecting all ministers here today bar one, so this demonstrates to you, I guess, the impact the weather's had on us today.

"We will continue on though, we do have a quorum and government business waits for no one.

"So, an unusual start to the year."

Review into life insurance companies

In Cabinet today, the government agreed to fast-track customer protection measures in the financial sector.

A Financial Markets Authority and Reserve Bank joint review into 16 life insurance companies found instances of charging for expired policies, selling policies people could not use, and poor systems for handling complaints and mistakes.

The report showed some instances of misconduct that might warrant legal action, although no widespread pattern through the industry. It did not identify the companies concerned.

"We are particularly concerned that life insurers haven't been putting consumer's interests at the top of their mind and that is unacceptable," said Finance Minister Grant Robertson in the post-cabinet press conference.

He said sales were being prioritised and the government needed to take action to fill the gap in regulation.

"We're not prepared to sit back and wait, we are going to regulate."

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