Govt relaxes restrictions around troubled KiwiBuild policy

The promise of KiwiBuild has been one of the biggest failures of the Labour Government, but now more changes are being made to tempt buyers and developers.

Price and income caps are being loosened – and in some cases completely removed.

For multiple buyers, the income threshold will be lifted from $180,000 to $200,000.

For individuals with dependants, an income cap of $150,000 is being created.

And those in need of bigger or more accessible homes will have caps removed entirely.

Housing Minister Megan Woods says it’s about moving with the times. She says the thresholds better reflect house prices – not a failure of the policy.

“What we realised when we reset KiwiBuild in 2019 is that we have to have the political courage to continually tweak and make sure it is continually fit for purpose at that time,” she told 1News.

Mortgage brokers and developers both say the policy has been bureaucratic at times, but demand is out there.

Broker Wayne Henry says the houses need to be built faster, and the entire process needs to be simplified.

Deflated buyers were walking away from the scheme because it was so complicated, he said.

“Incomes have increased over the last few years and they are increasing every day so I think that price point now with the increased caps we may start to see some real positives.”

The initial promise was that 100,000 homes would be built. Just 1380 have been constructed so far, and another 1200 are under construction.

And for renters, a new $50 million fund kicks in on Tuesday. It’ll allow not for profit organisations to build rental developments for lower income people who cannot afford a market rent but can’t access public housing.

It’s being made available in Auckland, the Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington and Nelson-Tasman. It’s the first round of a $350 million fund.

Previous and new KiwiBuild price caps.

National’s Chris Bishop says the policy has been a total failure.