Woods continues to defend beleaguered KiwiBuild scheme

Source: 1News

Housing Minister Megan Woods says the Government remains committed to trying to increase access to affordable housing.

Woods made the comments on Breakfast amid questions about the beleaguered KiwiBuild scheme.

The housing minister said the scheme had delivered around 1366 homes so far, with another 1200 under construction.

Asked if this was good enough, Woods said it is "certainly good" 1366 families are in affordable homes.

READ MORE: Revealed: How KiwiBuild failed Māori and Pasifika

"Of course it hasn't delivered the numbers we initially set out to do", she admitted, however.

When KiwiBuild began in 2018 there was an "overly ambitious" target to build 100,000 houses in 10 years. This target was scrapped under what Woods described as a "reset" in 2019.

Woods said the Government has to keep trying to increase access to affordable housing, remarking one of the biggest challenges was access to land.

She said the $3.8 billion fund, announced in 2021, to help green light tens of thousands of house builds in the short to medium term is "fundamental" to this.

The housing acceleration fund is intended to jump-start housing developments by funding services such as roads and pipes to homes, which are currently holding up development.

There is also a $350 million affordable housing fund intended to support the development of new, affordable homes for low-to-moderate income families in areas facing the biggest housing supply and affordability changes. It was announced in May this year.

"KiwiBuild is one of the easiest political hits in the world," Woods remarked, stating she's yet to hear from any opposition parties on an alternative policy which would do more than KiwiBuild.

National has described KiwiBuild as "the most significant public policy failure in recent New Zealand political history". Earlier this month its housing spokesperson Chris Bishop said Labour has "utterly failed" to deliver on housing.

Former leader Judith Collins even called the KiwiBuild reset a "damp squib".

When the Government reached 1000 KiwiBuild houses in July last year, ACT remarked the "momentous day" was "three years late and 15,000 homes behind schedule".

Woods said National had only been able to deliver 100 homes over the nine years it was in power.

"We weren't too proud to say we'd got it wrong [original Kiwibuild target] and we needed to reset," she said.