Judith Collins accuses Phil Twyford of lying about her KiwiBuild letter

Housing Minister Phil Twyford has accused his Opposition counterpart of bagging KiwiBuild in one breath, then asking for it to fund developments in her electorate the next.

Judith Collins has admitted writing a letter to Mr Twyford asking about a new Papakura apartment block's eligibility for KiwiBuild, but denies that constitutes an endorsement of the Labour-led programme.

Earlier this year Labour tweaked KiwiBuild's goal from "build" to "facilitate the delivery of" 100,000 affordable homes. In other words, some KiwiBuild funds will be used to buy private developments, with the hope being this will encourage more developers to build affordable housing.

Appearing on The AM Show on Friday, Mr Twyford accused Ms Collins of travelling "around the country bagging KiwiBuild, and in the next minute writes me a letter begging for KiwiBuild houses in her electorate".

"Come on, that's such a lie, Phil - Phil, don't tell lies," Ms Collins retorted, from the Newshub studio in Wellington.

In her version of events, a constituent wrote to her asking if she could check with Mr Twyford whether their new apartment development would be eligible for KiwiBuild.

"I did exactly what my constituent asked. Phil turned it down and then tried to use it against me in Parliament, as he's done today. I'm a constituent MP and I will stand up for my constituents. Phil might want to use that against me, but that's not good enough."

Phil Twyford.
Phil Twyford. Photo credit: The AM Show

Despite calling KiwiBuild a "silly programme", Ms Collins told Mr Twyford there was nothing wrong with encouraging KiwiBuild investment in her electorate, "if only you knew your detail and could make it work".

"But you can't Phil - you're going to get taken to the cleaners by the private developers. And you know what, Phil? It's because you don't understand property and you don't understand the reality."

Ms Collins said "any idiot" can buy properties from private developers. Mr Twyford responded by saying he thought that's what the National Party would want - the Government and the private sector working together - and accused Ms Collins of hoping KiwiBuild would fail.

"New Zealanders want the housing crisis to be fixed. They want affordable housing. You guys spent nine years doing nothing while the housing crisis got worse and worse. Why don't you just let us get on with the job of fixing the housing crisis?"

He's promised the first KiwiBuild homes will be completed by the first anniversary of the Government's formation - October 26 - in south Auckland's McLennan development.