Liar Ardern’s Kiwibuild turns ‘Kiwibust’

By Leith van Onselen

I’ve noted previously how the New Zealand Labour Party’s promise to “build 100,000 affordable homes across the country” is shaping up as an epic failure due to:

  1. the government changing the program from “building” to “facilitating” the delivery of 100,000 affordable dwellings, meaning that NZ taxpayers would merely ‘underwrite’ many dwellings that would have been built anyway, thereby protecting developer margins;
  2. the government increasing the price threshold on a Kiwibuild 3 bedroom home to $650,000, which is unaffordable to more than half of Auckland households; and
  3. the government announcing a ridiculously high income cap of $180,000 for would-be Kiwibuild homeowners – a level that is more than twice the average household income – thus turning the program into “socialism for the rich”.

Yesterday, reported that Kiwibuild’s popularity is plummeting:

Kiwibuild’s “plummeting popularity” could spell out Kiwibust for the Government’s flagship policy.

There are only 338 pre-qualified Kiwibuild applicants, while contracts for 3375 houses have been signed off by the Government. It was forced to push out the Kiwibuild ballot deadline in Wanaka, after receiving just 20 entries for 10 homes.

…the initiative was getting no traction and there was low interest in Kiwibuild homes…

“Houses are too expensive and too small. The minister isn’t building enough houses, he isn’t selling enough houses, and those few that are sold aren’t going to the people that need them” [said National Party housing spokeswoman Judith Collins]…

Earlier this month, ex-Labour Party MP, Peter Dunne, described Kiwibuild as “one of Edmund Blackadder’s cunning plans”:

…no longer will the government build “100,000 high quality affordable homes”. And no longer does “affordable” mean $350-450,000, but $650,000.

Moreover, now the plan is merely to “deliver” 100,000 homes, which, in the best Blackadder fashion, means accumulating all the new homes already being built over the next 10 years by the private sector anyway, and dressing them up as Kiwibuild homes…

Any suggestion that Kiwibuild will mean 100,000 more houses being built than might otherwise be the case has long since vanished.

All that is happening is that existing plans are being branded under the Kiwibuild label, which is win-win for both the government and the industry.

Therefore, in reality Kiwibuild is a very clever strategy of the government doing very little, but making it look like a lot, and all the while being able to milk many photo opportunities for Ministers as the still uncommon achievement of each house being completed happens.

…when the marketing awards are next given out Kiwibuild deserves first prize as a cunning plan, well marketed, but delivering very little and changing not very much, while all the time leaving people feeling good about the government’s warmth and kindness. Not even Blackadder and Baldrick in their heyday could ever have been as devious.

In other words, Kiwibuild is a policy smokescreen designed to give voters the impression that the Government is acting on housing affordability, while not actually doing much at all.

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Leith van Onselen
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    • That’s what I expect.

      Except labor didn’t even promise affordable housing or to cut migration! They will look honest compared to Artifice Ardern when they make some technical drafting changes in the tax law.

      • Yep – the ALP have even less of a clue what to do when the wheels fall off the neoliberalism vision splendid.

        They will be rushing around pumping up immigration and trying to sell off the remaining assets and more claims on our future income the moment they get into office. All the time claiming they had no choice because the international capital markets demand discipline or they may not buy our assets and debt instruments in future.

        It will be nice though giving them a hard time about selling out the nation and the workers again.

        At least they claim to care.

        The LNP haven’t bothered pretending for a generation.

      • I don’t know why PMs make big, bold plans when they don’t actually have any power to implement them, and if they were to try and proclaim themselves as El Presidente, the neolibs would arrange a Colour Revolution before you could blink.

        Pointless. We’ve been sold out to the global capitalists and they’ll have their profits FU very much. “Affordable housing” HHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

    • Yea but she is like a 10.5 out of 10 when compared to other pollies.
      Thats what punters like…

    • Obama showed how it is done. Distract progressives with a non-white-male leader and false promises. Waste lots of tax payers money maintaining the status quo.

  1. And the alternative was… nothing; nothing changes?
    Yes, it’s been a disappointment, and Yes, lower immigration targets haven’t been bandied about in the press, but this country, contrary to what IS written in the press, is in deep strife.
    Macrobusiness rightly notes that “prosperity etc isn’t getting through to the man in the street” and neither is it here.
    Labour, and Ardern, have an unenviable task in front of them. Do what they promised and see the economy exposed for what it is, and Kiwis suffer, or try to ‘ease’ in change as best they can.
    Frankly, I’m in the ‘hard and fast’ camp, but I accept that I’m in the minority with that. So “Slow and easy’ it is.
    Kiwibuild is not what it was marketed as. But it’s better than what we had, even if it is both not much and a twisted version of the policy.
    Like Trump, Ardern should never have been left this legacy of decay, and at some stage, someone has to do something about it. Trump has/is doing. Ardern hasn’t. I hope the word I am searching for is “yet”, because unless someone does soon, there’s going to be a social disaster.

    • that’s the salient issue and it is a dilemma. To bring the electorate to support the change ie: cop some pain, is requiring such a level of communication and cajoling as to be humanly impossible.>

      • Who cares – as long as we win the world cup… close run Saturday. English proved tougher than I thought although conditions wet and stubborn. Eire really struggled. Wallabies looked good, Beale kicked away too much possession, and did numerous runs across field for no net gain. France are now looking dangerous again, but threw away their game in the last minutes to the Springboks.

        Less than 12 months away, and all the top teams are suddenly looking very close. Japan could be the best yet!

    • Janet I agree entirely. Someone has to start getting honest about the economy and the problems that have been rolled over and hidden from one government to the next. We also have a government in denial in Australia. I predict that my children’s generation ( they are in their early 20’s) are going to be the ones who will push out these old farts and bring in much needed radical social and economic change. They are so frustrated with the self interest and archaic values of the present ruling class. Change is coming!

  2. Kiwibuild is a joke.
    The overseas foreign syndicates just wash the dirty money via a NZ (foreign born / dual proxy).
    Who have all registered as low income etc for the sky kennels or granny flat like poky little boxes.

    Now they are importing ‘flat pack’ houses made in China. Basically a garage with some dividers, a toilet & sink.

    And now they are importing 30,000 migrant guestworkers to build them.

    Meanwhile the NZ third world intake & then Trans Tasman discharge pipe across into Australia is stuck on wide open.

    650,000 NZ SCV in Australia.
    230,000 non NZ born. Genuine NZ born going back.
    95% one way unskilled third world migrant guestworker flow into Australia.
    Remember these are the third world Asians & Indians, Nepalese, Fiji Indians, Africans, Chinese and Taiwanese criminals / Pacific islands Passports etc that could not even get into Australia or Chinese & Indians or Eurotrash that got kicked out of Australia.
    The absolute bottom of the barrel.

    So they enter via NZ, loan debt, work illegally, get the residency/ citizenship, and then enter Australia with full work rights, no restrictions.

    Up from only 8% non NZ born entering Australia as long / permanent stay NZ SCV,. to now over 35%.

    It gets worse.
    290,000 unskilled third world Asian & Indians etc who couldn’t get into Australia, are also now backed up in NZ pending the NZ residency/citizenship grant to then enter Australia.

    If Australia shut down the NZ Aust SCV racket (restrict to only Aust or NZ born citizens) and removed work rights from all non NZ born SCV in Australia, then 230,000 unskilled third world migrants of which almost all would have never met our criteria – would have to go back to NZ.

    And that would also block 290,000 undesirables now queued up.

    And NZ would have to shut down its intake & the third world migrant guestworker transit trafficking.

    And that would be good for both countries.

    • This. Also why it is hillarious that Scumo is going to pay nz to take refugees. So we pay and then end up with them anyway. May as well just increase the humanitarian intake and save the cash. Stupid.

  3. You can have the biggest, shiniest teeth in the world, which she does, and still just end up being another lying, slimy politician.

    • I gotta say I quite like her. You can have your choice of
      our Scott Morrison or Tony Abbott if you are looking for slimy, we will have Arden any day on exchange

  4. Everything Kiwi is a joke. And I like the place. But the reality is that they are heavily subsidized defensively (and completely popularly ignorant about a la Lange). They have a problem in Auckland that Sydney has envy for property-wise. And Jacinda Ardern (SJW) is the answer? Welcome to the future. I’m going to start looking in Central/ South America or parts of Europe. Feck this.

  5. Jumping jack flash

    A failure you say? Oh, what a surprise!

    Any talk of building or providing “affordable” houses can NEVER work except under the most strict conditions:

    The problem with houses is that they are valued according to houses that are around them.
    Debt is attached to a house at a particular value. If houses with low value (aka, price) are suddenly built nearby, then that’s a huge problem. Firstly, the houses with the debt could lower in value, which is tremendously bad, or, secondly, the affordable houses rise in value which makes them unaffordable and the whole undertaking turns into a bit of a joke, really.

    If any government says they are going to provide affordable houses then they are just smooth-talking the electorate unless they’re going to subsidise the full price (with FHOG, or the like, and we all know how that ends up) or they build the cheap houses out of old shipping containers in the desert – or in the case of NZ, inside an active volcano, on one of those poisonous lakes, or on a fault line or something – and far, far, far away from any other houses that have any debt attached to them, and far, far away from any services, like shops and roads and schools and hospitals and jobs, or anything that could possibly cause the value of these cheap houses to rise and cause the houses to become unaffordable.

  6. Don’t worry. Soon the Govt will announce “KiwiMortgage” – thats where you dont need a deposit, and serviceability is thrown out the window. That will immediately convert the 46,000 on the waiting list to available buyers.