PM Jacinda Ardern refuses to stand by major KiwiBuild goal

Jacinda Ardern has refused to stand by the Government's goal of producing 100,000 houses in 10 years under the KiwiBuild programme. 

In Parliament on Wednesday National leader Simon Bridges asked the Prime Minister if the Government was still committed to that number - a goal promised after other initial KiwiBuild targets were dropped

"We are going through the process of a reset around the KiwiBuild programme," Ardern replied, adding that her Government remains committed to building affordable homes. 

"Are we the Government that has built more houses than any other governments since the 1970s? The answer to that is yes," she said. 

Bridges asked Ardern: "Is that a confirmation that the 100,000 houses in a decade commitment is now gone?" to which Ardern replied: "No."

He then asked why Housing Minister Phil Twyford told Interest on Wednesday: "It's like American nuclear ships in the 1980s - it's a neither confirm nor deny situation."

"As I said, we are in the process of working through a KiwiBuild reset," Ardern replied. "But whilst we do so, we are continuing to build houses."

Bridges asked the Prime Minister when it will be confirmed if the 100,000 target is still on - but she didn't answer the question, instead pointing to what she saw as positives in the housing market.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and National leader Simon Bridges in Parliament.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and National leader Simon Bridges in Parliament. Photo credit: Parliament TV

"I will never reside from the fact that this is a Government that has committed to changing the face of housing in this country. Just look at the Auckland housing market - a significant change has happened there.

"We know that even though prices are high, that more first-home buyers are getting into that market. We are creating more transitional housing places. We have built more state houses [and] we put a stop to state house sales."

Statistics last month showed sellers in Auckland were asking around 1.9 percent less for their house than the month before, and there's been an increase in listings.

The Prime Minister has admitted that fixing New Zealand's housing crisis is "not easy". She told Newshub Nation in March: "I don't think anybody expected that it would be." 

The Government's answer to the "housing crisis" has been the $2 billion KiwiBuild scheme. It promised 100,000 affordable homes between 2018 and 2028, half of them in Auckland, for which only New Zealand citizens or permanent residents would be eligible. 

But it failed to meet the interim target of 1000 homes by the end of its first year and had to be "re-calibrated", and the Government was recently forced to buy KiwiBuild houses in Queenstown that weren't selling.