Changing Kiwibuild targets unacceptable sophistry & privatisation of state housing a slap in the face


Oh for the love Christ…

KiwiBuild to be ‘recalibrated’ as interim targets are scrapped
KiwiBuild’s “interim” targets for this electoral term have been scrapped as the Government recalibrates the programme.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Housing Minister Phil Twyford told media from their caucus retreat on Wednesday that their commitment to building 100,000 affordable homes over the next decade remains intact, but the interim targets for this term did not.

The Government has been dealing with the fallout from an admission by Twyford that the Government would not be able build 1000 of the homes by July 1, its first interim target. Instead it expects to build just 300.

…this is such incompetence and bullshit.

If National had promised 1000 new affordable houses and it turned out to just be a subsidy for the children of the middle classes and they only managed 300, we would be righteously roasting them, so it’s unacceptable to not equally roast Labour!

I’ve pointed out the 4 reasons why Kiwbuild is a failure…

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1 – Conception

What so many fail to remember about this bloody 100 000 affordable houses promise was that it was made by David Shearer at the exact time he was trying to fend off a challenge for Leadership by Cunliffe. I have spoken to the person who was Shearer’s advisor on this, and they admitted that it was a stunt to blunt Cunliffe’s aspirations and that it was never costed out because who would complain if they only built 70 000? Twyford inherited an un-costed political stunt, so let’s not be too harsh on him.


2 – Perception

What was always true about KiwiBuild was that it was for the children of the middle classes, it was never for the poor which means the homeless, those living in cars, beneficiaries, the working poor, those living in motels, the first generation of user pays – Gen Xers,  and Millennials and the 1 in 5 children living in poverty were NEVER going to be able to afford these so called ‘affordable’ houses. But yay, a new Dr will get one.


For the homeless, those living in cars, beneficiaries, the working poor, those living in motels, the first generation of user pays – Gen Xers,  and Millennials and the 1 in 5 children living in poverty who voted for and hoped for a better future when voting for Jacinda, KiwiBuild is an abject failure and that could hurt when trying to rally them again for 2020.


3 – Free Market Capitalism stupid

Twyford, “believes the teething issues have come from the state of the residential construction sector, which is dominated by small firms, with low productivity, who are incentivised to build expensive rather than affordable homes.”

WHAT? The free market greed cluster fuck of a speculative housing industry with sweet fuck all regulations is geared to simply maximise profits and not build anything for the poor?


How is this possible? Private sector organisations only wanting to maximise returns? What on earth is that called? Free market capitalism? How long has this existed? Couple of centuries? How has that snuck up on us?

Sarcasm aside, how could the fucking bleeding obvious be a sudden surprise for Phil?


4 – Ministry of Wonks instead of Ministry of Works 

You don’t solve a problem created by neoliberalism by adopting more neoliberalism. Labour always should have declared this situation as a national crisis and set up a bloody Ministry of Works and build the bloody houses ourselves. Instead we have a Ministry of Wonks trying to cut deals with developers who don’t give a fuck about building cheap houses for the poor.

…and there are plenty of ways to fix this now. Focus on building houses to rent, seize back golf courses and a mass building of state houses. Bryan Bruce has some immediate suggestions...

•Better existing land use (urban sprawl just creates other huge problems)
•Long term leasing rather than ownership
•Collective and cooperative mortgages
•Temporarily restricting immigration flow
•A bottom up approach -build more social housing as a priority rather than a top down home ownership approach . This would reduce demand quicker and reduce house prices

…on top of that, I would argue we need an actual Ministry of Works that actually builds the bloody houses ourselves rather than rely on trying to coax developers to build them. The market is built for speculation and greed, it has no interest in housing the poor, the Government has to harden the fuck up and accept that if they want to make the Politics of Kindness mean more than a photo op on the International Stage.

This capitulation on top of the news that Labour are now abdicating state house building to the private sector is another admission of defeat…

‘Short-sighted’: Govt looks to developers to ramp up social housing – angering non-profit groups
Developers are signing up to build state houses for the Government in a move described as a “disaster” because it will take funding away from non-profit groups and could allow the houses to be sold off in future for windfall profits.

One developer has already been approved as a Community Housing Provider, which means they can get access to generous Government subsidies – up to 150 percent of market rent for 25 years for any houses they build. Two more private developers are understood to be seeking registration.

Until now, only non-profit companies like the Salvation Army and the Auckland City Mission have been registered to build and manage social housing, which includes looking after some of the most complicated and needy tenants in the country.

…so any bugger with a hammer is now a social housing specialist…

Peter Jeffries, the chief executive of CORT Community Housing, called the Government policy “short-sighted” and a “disaster”.

“I am concerned that Government funding will be pocketed by private owners who will sell-off their properties for a windfall capital gain at the end of their 25-year contract. It’s a very short-term strategy.

“For a similar amount of Government funding, not-for-profit organisations like ours provide community housing indefinitely.”

Building and Housing Minister Phil Twyford referred questions to the Community Housing Regulatory Authority.

The authority’s manager, Fiona Fitzgerald, said the registration for becoming a community housing provider was rigorous, and applicants had to show they had the skills to care for vulnerable people.

Fitzgerald confirmed that developers would be able to sell the houses in some circumstances. But the Government would ensure the houses were used for public housing “for the length of time they are needed”.

…if only Kiwibuild was a pyramid scheme, at least that way we would have pyramids for people to live in.


  1. All good stuff Martyn, except what were Labour doing in the years since David Shearer announced the program, do none of them own a calculator!
    I agree about more State Houses but it is my understanding that Fletcher’s built a lot of those, no reason why the same system couldn’t be used again because something has to be done.

    • Actually some historians say it was Hue Fletcher’s idea in the first place. certainly he lobbied hard for the contract, and when he couldn’t make ends meet on the agreed price they paid him some more. But they were affordable houses and he did perform. He built them all. The public works never built any. Not to say they could not set up a government owned building and training organisation but that is not what was done by Savage.
      D J S

      • This sounds like a very large building company from the 60s’ called Beazley Homes. Not sure when they started, but I worked for them for 20 years in the Frame and Truss Depts which were large affairs back then. A lot of our houses were Housing Corp NZ all over NZ supplied from this one outfit in Mt Maunganui. We were doing 6 houses a day mainly for NZHC. Even though I was young at the time I can look back in hindsight at the relative ease this company did such a huge amount of houses. Well set up and very well managed by a fellow called Peter Hietze and a huge management team we called bullshit castle. this level of management doesn’t seem possibly these days? Anyway, It is not that hard to build lots of houses, just need good organisation.

  2. Seems when Labour are in trouble with their election ‘promises’ they do away with measurements, they have done the same last year with the Heath targets. Trouble is you guys always forgive them (when there is nothing to measure against when they ‘promise’ that things are better you all take it in… Hook line and lies)

  3. a promise to make things better and a promise for a brighter future they are all a pack of bullshit artist

  4. Labour and the Coalition have one Big Mess to Clean Up after 9 years of National’s degradation of the New Zealand Economy

  5. What is needed is State Houses, State Houses and more State Houses

    ( prefab and double story for land space economy …State terrace housing?)

    …and a BIG tax on overseas owners of New Zealand houses

    This is the most important issue facing this government coalition…on this will be their re-election or not

    …they could step up to the mark like Richard Seddon and Michael Joseph Savage:

  6. The blog summarises what has been covered on TDB. Martyn, you can’t decide on how much to blame Twyford for the mess that is KiwiBuild.

    When Twyford was leaving Oxfam international he spoke out for the best support for NGOs – which was to collect money from the very rich. A strange attitude for an Oxfam worker. Oxfam works to compensate for the worst effects of an economic system that creates extreme wealth, not seeking to base itself on it.

    Twyford is not innocent. He is responsible for KiwiBuild as a flawed project. As you point out Martyn, he relies on private wealth in the form of building businesses, as a key part of funding it.

    Private ownership was always the aim. State housing is lost in a policy which is using state land for houses that will be sold.

  7. Phil Twyford and Jacinda Ardern, and the rest of the caucus lot, they know full well, they will never see the 100,000 KiwiBuild program deliver, as they will NEVER be in government for that time.

    So they can play with the numbers as they wish, it means stuff all to us and anybody needing an ‘affordable’ home.

    KiwiBuild will go down in history as the policy fiasco that broke Labour Camel’s back, ruining their reputation with most voters for good, so they will have this one term, and perhaps NEVER be back in government again, under the “Labour” party brand at least.

    I have been calling for it for many years, we need a new, truly left party, not some Labour make Nat lite kind of lot, that is just endless BS and label cheating.

  8. I am trying to picture Jacinda’s face the moment whist in Europe, when it sank in that Phil Twyford is an A grade idiot.

    The moment when se realised he was yet another individual who spent years in opposition going to work to eat his lunch.

    The moment when she knew Labour had no real housing policy.

    And why she had not breathed down their necks demanding evidence that everything was on track.

    And why she took that hospital pass from Andrew Little.

  9. Marc, I’d be surprised if Jacinda is surprised at Phil’s antics. Jacinda & Phil were pals when Labour was in Opposition. Both were together to share their distress when progressive Cunliffe was elected leader. Both supported Robertson. What is unsurprising is the debacle that is Kiwibuild.

  10. Marc, adding to my comment on your post: Jacinda & Phil’s upset re leadership, was captured on national TV. Phil recovered quickly, flew to Auckland to join supporters for a meeting/celebration in Cunliffe’s electorate office. Robertson went on to lead the Labour caucus ABCs (Anyone But Cunliffe). Unsettling for Cunliffe & a minor triumph for neo-liberals when he departed.

    Jacinda went on to lead the defeat of the Gnats. Wish she would follow through on keeping election promises, especially on housing. Given her political connections with psuedo Labour, reforms for the poorest seem doomed.

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