Duncan Garner: Twyford's no-show at KiwiBuild conference a 'middle finger' to the industry

OPINION: At nine o'clock this morning, the Build NZ conference and trade show kicks off at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland.

It's all about KiwiBuild - the who, what, where, when, why and how of KiwiBuild.

All the industry players are there - builders, landowners, planners, home build companies, Fletchers, architects, the prefab house makers, the greenhouse builders, the sustainable this, the premix that, you name it, it's there. Oh, and me, I'm the jock pulling a few strings on stage.

It was to kick off with the man in the middle - KiwiBuild Minister Phil Twyford - but he has, astonishingly, pulled the middle finger to the entire industry and pulled out at the last minute.

The industry wants to know, deserves to know, what, how and when his shambles of a policy will be euthanized or scaled back.

But they want the truth.

They don't want your messenger, junior minister Jenny Salesa - they want you, Phil.

But Phil has decided to stay in Wellington and do a housing announcement on Housing First. What an insult to this industry. KiwiBuild not in the race anymore.

Phil, these people have respected you, they have worked with you, they have listened to you, they remember you turning up year after year to this trade show, with your briefcase and no friends, as opposition housing spokesperson, talking to 7.5 people about a slogan called Kiwibuild.

Well now 500 are waiting this morning to find out more, and you turn your back, what a shambles, what a debacle.

This Government's housing policy is in disarray after years of bagging National's approach.

These guys are running scared, all because they picked a con as a slogan rather than a policy that could be achieved.

Twyford doesn't deserve to survive the Cabinet reshuffle this week. But I bet he does.

And sadly Twyford is so embattled he's now living in his own panic room.

We have asked, in the public interest, to interview Twyford 11 times in recent months - he's turned us down every time.

Phil, if you can't be accountable to the people, stop taking up space in Cabinet.

Duncan Garner is host of The AM Show.