Labour 'aspirational' about Kiwibuild but National say it's nothing new

Labour 'aspirational' about Kiwibuild but National say it's nothing new
Photo credit: Getty.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford says he is “aspirational” about meeting the Government's KiwiBuild promises but the National Party claim he's taking credit for work already done.

Speaking on RadioLIVE Drive, Mr Twyford said he would like to see between 30 and 40 percent of KiwiBuild houses in the recently announced Unitec development.

He said he was aiming for between 3000 to 4000 new homes, but couldn't guarantee a minimum as planning was still in its early stages.

"We haven't done the master planning, we haven't even recruited the developers yet to work with us on this project.

"But I want to see a substantial number of affordable homes and state housing built because if we don't do that, who will?"  

The Minister said he was aiming for 20 percent of those new homes to be state housing but would not commit to that number either, saying instead that was an "aspiration."

When asked why he wouldn't commit to any firm numbers regarding the site, the Minister said: "We haven't yet done the detailed calculations in the planning for the site, I want to leave us some wiggle room and I want to be upfront about that."

In regards to the building contractor taking on the massive project, the Minister said it "could be any number of people" and wouldn't rule out Fletcher Building.    

National Leader Simon Bridges has been critical of the announcement, telling the AM show this week that Labour was rebranding work already started under National.

"You heard Phil Twyford yesterday,” he said, 'We've had to come in and start this from scratch.' What a load of nonsense. Bollocks. It's just bollocks. This has been around for some time. All that's happened to date is a rebranding of what we were doing."

Under the Auckland Unitary Plan, consent was granted for 3000 new dwellings on the Unitec site.

National Spokesperson for Housing Judith Collins was also vocal in her criticism.

"All that seems to have happened here is that Mr Twyford wants to use taxpayers’ money to subsidise the building and selling of homes that were going to happen anyway," she said in a statement.

Newshub Nation contacted Ms Collins to ask where Nationals plans had go to and if they would have taken steps to make sure the houses were affordable. Her full response reads:

"The previous Government signed off on Unitec’s investment plans to consolidate their campus and develop the spare land for housing. Unitec was planning a mix of houses at a range of prices.

"The Unitec development was always part of the Auckland housing plan, that’s why Unitec successfully got a change to the Auckland Council Unitary Plan. Unitec would now have been at the stage of calling for tenders from construction companies.  

"The Government can and previously has had a role to play, such as in the Tamaki Redevelopment but that’s not what was promised by Labour for Kiwibuild."

Newshub Nation.

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