MBIE wrong about KiwiBuild costs - Twyford

Housing Minister Phil Twyford has dismissed figures from his own officials suggesting KiwiBuild homes will be much less affordable than the Government has claimed.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) documents released to Newshub Nation last week under the Official Information Act suggested first-home buyers would need a household income of $114,000 a year to afford a so-called affordable $600,000 KiwiBuild home.

That's above the average nationwide household income of $98,000, and just shy of the Auckland average of about $120,000.

Mr Twyford had previously estimated $60,000 would be enough.

"I just don't think the MBIE modelling was very accurate or true to what's going on," he told The AM Show on Friday morning.

"It depends how you do the modelling - it depends on interest rates, the term of the mortgage, the price of the house. It depends on those assumptions."

He said he trusts data from property analysts CoreLogic over that from MBIE, calling it "much more true".

"I don't agree with all the advice we get from officials."

National MP Judith Collins rolls her eyes at Phil Twyford's comments on The AM Show.
National MP Judith Collins rolls her eyes at Phil Twyford's comments on The AM Show. Photo credit: The AM Show

Labour's KiwiBuild scheme aims to deliver 100,000 affordable homes in 10 years. Half will be in Auckland, with standalone homes under $600,000 and apartments under $500,000.

He said MBIE's figures were based on "some very indicative modelling done... in the first few weeks of Government, with some very conservative assumptions".

Mr Twyford told Newshub Nation he's looking at ways to make KiwiBuild homes more affordable, such as shared equity schemes - or the Government retaining part-ownership.

The Housing Minister will reveal new state housing plans later on Friday. He wouldn't reveal any details about the announcement on The AM Show.

"Stay tuned, and you'll find out. The critical thing is we're not selling off state houses, which is what National did."

The new Labour-led Government halted Housing New Zealand's state house sell-off in December. Between 2015 and 2017, around 4000 homes were sold - mostly to social housing providers.