'It will be tough for us': Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gives coy KiwiBuild update

Jacinda Ardern has admitted the pace of KiwiBuild has slipped, after the Housing Minister said last week he might not be able to deliver on the scheme's goals.  

"The pace isn't as quick as we would like," the Prime Minister said on Tuesday, during a post-Cabinet press conference in Wellington. 

Ms Ardern was responding to concerns over the KiwiBuild scheme, after Housing Minister Phil Twyford said he cannot guarantee that the scheme can deliver as many houses as promised on time.  

Mr Twyford said last year he aimed to have 1000 KiwiBuild homes completed by July 2019, with 5000 more ready by July 2020 and 10,000 more by July 2021. 

But the minister now says he cannot make a guarantee, telling RNZ's Morning Report last week he thinks it will be "tough to meet that target". 

Despite that, Ms Ardern was adamant the KiwiBuild targets will be met. She told media the Government "remains absolutely committed to building houses, and we are". 

"Evidence to date is that the pace isn't as quick as we would like, but we remain absolutely committed to the 10-year target and we are only six months into that programme."

Ms Ardern said the Housing Minister gave an update to Cabinet colleagues, and said he "intends to bring a paper to Cabinet a little bit further down the track with some of his planning around KiwiBuild". 

"We don't apologise for the fact that we are tackling the housing crisis head-on and we are building houses," she said, but added: "Based on the number of houses ready to be built, it will be tough for us."

She said the contracted number of houses is "in the thousands" but in terms of completion: "Yeah, it's a housing crisis, and it's difficult". 

"The overall target of building 100,000 homes, we are six months into that, we are building and delivering homes, we just want the pace to pick up."

There are currently 10,160 KiwiBuild homes contracted to be built, with 236 being built, and just 47 complete. 

National's Housing Spokesperson Judith Collins said last week the Government should focus more on reforming the Resource Management Act (RMA), saying: "Planning and consenting for land use is key to delivering affordable housing." 

Her comments echoed those of National leader Simon Bridges, who told The AM Show last week that development of the country's housing market has been restrained by the RMA. 

National MP Stuart Smith said this month the National Party will release its draft legislation this year to replace the RMA.