Judith Collins: KiwiBuild policy is on 'life-support'

The Opposition claims the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy is on “life-support” and the scheme’s popularity has hit a snag.

But the Head of KiwiBuild has said there is no hurry for would-be KiwiBuild owners to rush into applications, and has told people to take their time.

In an answer to a written question last week, Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said as of November 5, there had been 388 pre-qualified KiwiBuild applicants.

Online pre-qualifications, where those interested in buying a KiwiBuild home could apply to see if they were eligible, opened in mid-August.

Meanwhile, according to Ministry for Housing and Urban Development (HUD) figures, 3,375 contracts have been signed between KiwiBuild and a developer.

National’s housing spokeswoman Judith Collins said the gap between the two figures shows the KiwiBuild scheme is “not nearly as popular as [Twyford] or the Prime Minister have claimed it is.”

“The minister has been clutching at straws to keep Labour’s flagship housing policy on life-support.”

But Head of KiwiBuild Stephen Barclay has said there is no rush for people to pre-qualify for a KiwiBuild home.

“My advice is to familiarise yourself with the system, get a better understanding of the information you’ll need to provide us with, and obtain some financial advice as well,” he said after pre-qualifications opened in August.

He said the best time to enter the pre-qualification stage is when a KiwiBuild development becomes available in an area where its potential buyers would like to live.

HUD figures show of the 3,375 contracts signed between KiwiBuild and a developer, the location of 2,858 – or 85% – of the homes has yet to be announced.

The Government aims to deliver 1000 KiwiBuild homes in the first year, another 5000 by June 2020 and 10,000 in 2021.

So far, 18 KiwiBuild homes have been completed, with 73 under construction, according to HUD’s figures. More than 45,000 people have registered an interest in buying a KiwiBuild home.

Meanwhile, Collins continues to raise questions about KiwiBuild’s popularity, after the deadline for KiwiBuild homes in Wanaka was extended because of a lack of interest.

After only 20 entries were received after the ballot opened in early October, the deadline was pushed until November 18.

“The Minister was more enamoured with announcing a KiwiBuild development in the South Island than checking whether demand existed for properties with two or three-bedrooms in Wanaka at the price point he has set,” Collins said.