Housing Minister Chris Bishop won't give first-home buyers certainty Government grants will remain in six months

Housing Minister Chris Bishop has been unable to guarantee first-home buyers looking to buy in the next six months that Government-funded grants and loans aimed at getting Kiwis on the property ladder will remain in place. 

It comes after a scathing review of Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities found it is not "financially viable" unless it makes significant savings. 

The independent review has prompted the Government to announce a broad review of the existing housing programmes that it runs. 

The review made clear that Kāinga Ora over the years has taken over more tasks, growing from a state landlord to providing schemes such as urban development programmes and first home grants. 

"Because it does an enormous number of things it has taken its eye off the ball, of the core task of housing New Zealanders and that's what we want to get it back to," Bishop said on Monday. 

Speaking to reporters today, Bishop said the Government will look at all of its housing programmes, however, that work hasn't started yet. 

He said part of the issue was that there has been a whole lot of different programmes set up for different issues. 

"They all target different parts of the issue, or different parts of the housing problem we've got in New Zealand and my view is we can be much more targeted and much more efficient with what we are trying to accomplish," Bishop said. 

Bishop has already confirmed Kiwibuild will be scrapped but when asked whether other programmes that help first-home buyers would be cut, Bishop said:  

"We're looking at all the housing products that the Government provides." 

When pushed further on whether he could guarantee to first-home buyers that if they are looking to buy a house in six months schemes such as First Home Grant and First Home Loans would still exist Bishop said:  

"I can give them a guarantee that we are looking at all of the range of housing products that the Government provides. We are taking a good, hard look at all of them and once we've made a decision on them, I will make announcements about that." 

Asked whether he can't guarantee those would be there in six months, Bishop replied "I think I've answered your question". 

The First Home Loan scheme is a low-deposit loan for eligible first-home buyers while the First Home Grant gives eligible Kiwis up to $10,000 towards a deposit for their first home.  

Labour's housing spokesperson Kieran McAnulty said the schemes were shown to help get first-home buyers into the housing market but whether they were as effective as they could be was a legitimate question that is always being looked at.  

"But not at least committing to there being some form of assistance for first home buyers is the sort of uncertainty that the entire sector… need right now," he said.