17 May 2024

Nearly 1300 homes on hold amid government review

11:40 am on 17 May 2024
Building in Christchurch, Moorhouse Ave

The building of 690 KiwiBuild homes and 593 market homes has been halted as a review, headed by former prime minister Sir Bill English, is carried out. Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

Kāinga Ora has stopped plans to build nearly 1300 homes while it awaits the outcome of a government review and the Budget.

The coalition government announced the review, headed by former prime minister Sir Bill English, in December.

RNZ reported in April that select committee documents showed the housing provider had made a decision to delay some work programmes - such as KiwiBuild - following the announcement of the probe.

Official Information Act documents showed if all the developments linked to KiwiBuild that were paused went ahead, they would result in 1,283 homes.

Those included 690 KiwiBuild homes and 593 market homes.

KiwiBuild works by underwriting a portion of homes in new developments. In return, participating developers agree to sell them to eligible buyers below or at the programme's price caps.

Market homes are developments not underwritten by the government, but which are able to be built because of the extra money freed up for the developers by their other properties being underwritten.

The decision to pause work on its assessment of the developments was made without the direction of Housing Minister Chris Bishop.

Bishop told RNZ the outcome of the review would be released soon.

When he announced the probe, he said it would cover the state housing provider's financial situation, procurement and asset management.

"It is critical that Kāinga Ora is focused on efficiently building social houses for people in need while also delivering value for taxpayers' money, and this review will be able to provide recommendations to ensure that these objectives are being met."

KiwiBuild was established in 2018 by the previous Labour government as a flagship policy, with the initial goal of building 100,000 homes over 10 years.

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