Replacing KiwiBuild boss no easy task - property commentator

A leading property commentator has warned it will be difficult to replace KiwiBuild's out-going boss during a time where "everything is conspiring against" the scheme.

On Monday it was revealed Stephen Barclay resigned from the role at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development after complaints about his leadership behaviour from employees, contractors and stakeholders.

As the ministry investigates, Ashley Church, the chief executive of the Property Institute of New Zealand, is warning it will be difficult to find a replacement.

"[They need] somebody who is immersed in public sector culture and understands how to run a public sector organisation with all the variations and differences that has from a private sector organisation and all that that entails," said Mr Church.

While Mr Barclay claims the KiwiBuild programme was on track to meet its targets under his leadership, Housing Ministry Phil Twyford announced last week he was only confident 300 houses would be built by July - not the 1000 promised.

Mr Church said making the scheme work would not be an easy task.

"We are operating KiwiBuild a point in the cycle where everything is conspiring against it. We're selling houses for $650,000 or more, which I don't think many people would regard as affordable," he said.

"You've got the need to find an A-type personality. Somebody [who] knows how to make an organisation successful and is able to move quickly and innovatively."

Complaints were related to Mr Barclay's treatment of employees, not to his implementation of the KiwiBuild programme, according to the ministry's chief executive Andrew Crisp.

But Mr Barclay, who was only in the role for six months, denies the allegations, saying that while he was employed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment from July to October 2018, there were no issues with his performance.

He announced on Monday that he would pursue a case of constructive dismissal.


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