Government keen to get KiwiBuild started right away

Planning to build some cheap housing in Auckland? The new Government might buy them off the plans.

Incoming Housing Minister Phil Twyford says Labour's KiwiBuild policy to build 100,000 affordable homes over the next ten years will include any already in the works that fit the criteria, if the developers are willing to sell.

"If you've got a development in the pipeline and some of those new homes could meet the KiwiBuild criteria, then come to us and we may buy them off the plan - thereby speeding up and taking some of the risk out of that development, and guaranteeing a supply of new, affordable homes for first-home buyers," he told The AM Show on Thursday.

Half of the 100,000 KiwiBuild homes are expected to be built in Auckland.

"We can deliver medium-density townhouses, terraces and the like for $500,000 and under," said Mr Twyford. "We will be doing some standalone homes, but they're more likely to be further out on the fringes. We think we can deliver those for $600,000 and under."

If sold in the first five years of ownership, buyers will have to give any capital gains made back to the Government. Only first-home buyers will be eligible, and only Kiwis.

"We're going to ban people who are not citizens or permanent residents of this country from buying existing homes."

That's expected to come into force within the Government's first 100 days, but probably not until after Christmas. Mr Twyford says there are existing trade agreements made by the previous Government that will need to be looked at first.

"We are absolutely committed to making a change to the law."

As for where the houses will be built in Auckland, Mr Twyford says there has already been work done by Auckland Council in "scoping out the best locations around the city for these kinds of urban renewal projects".

"Places like Henderson in west Auckland, like Manukau, like Panmure, like Avondale and New Lynn, these places are crying out for investment. Our job as the Government is to create the conditions for the private sector to come in and do high-quality developments to live and work and play."

The first of the KiwiBuild homes Mr Twyford says will be built sometime in the next six months. Just where, he's not sure of yet.

"We're gonna have to ramp this up over three years until we hit the magic 10,000-a-year number, but this is the policy that we campaigned on - we are gonna build some houses."

And that includes state houses.

"My aim is that we build 2000 or more [a year]. This is an area we want to be really ambitious on. We've got a housing minister now that accepts there is a housing crisis, and we're going to have a massive build programme to fix it."


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