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The KiwiBuild Fiasco: How KiwiBuild fell down, and whether anything can be saved from the wreckage – #2 – ‘Phil the Builder’ takes over and will save NZ


Henry Cooke at Stuff – How KiwiBuild fell down, and whether anything can be saved from the wreckage– A detailed look at the fiasco from a journalist.

This is an excellent article, it allows readers to draw their own conclusions and nothing wrong with that.

This and other posts will explore the article and it’s ramifications

This is the second in a series – the first is here

Cooke sets the scene very well

The first meeting came at the end of one of the most exciting weeks of Phil Twyford’s life.

The day before, he had been sworn in as the minister of housing and urban development, just seven days after Winston Peters had decided Labour should lead the new Government in October of 2017. The two-hour meeting would be followed by an interview with The Guardian, a paper suddenly a lot more interested in New Zealand, and a flight to Auckland for an awards dinner. He didn’t have an office in the Beehive quite yet, but he did have a cute security tag reading “housing minister.” in the squiggly handwriting of his 8-year-old nephew.

This makes clear how Twyford started out.

The two-hour meeting was the first step in turning KiwiBuild from an ambitious opposition policy into something a Government could actually do. This would not be simple. Opposition policy, usually dreamed up by three or four people and an Excel spreadsheet, is a long way away from the stuff that Treasury lets you do with the powerful levers and coffers of Government. If there was a time to start letting Kiwis down gently, to tell them that perhaps 100,000 brand new homes in places they wanted to live for prices they wanted to pay was a pipe dream, this would have been it. 

No, hubris and stupidity mitigated against this. Evidence a Megan Woods tweet form 2012 – which also suggests that we are in the world of  ‘ plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose’


And yet the policy emerged from the meeting looking remarkably similar to what had been promised half a decade back in 2012. There would be 100,000 homes. They would be affordable. And they would come within 10 years – and at a similar rate as Labour had promised months earlier.

Why wouldn’t it when the person in charge is as arrogant as Phil Twyford. Let us remember that Twyford was vaingloriously proclaiming how he was going to solve the housing issue.

Twyford was convinced that he had all the answers.

Sample from another good piece by Henry Cooke

Housing Minister Phil Twyford has slammed the “kids at Treasury” over an analysis that halved the impact KiwiBuild would have on residential construction, and provided a sunnier forecast from another agency.

He doubled down with

“Over the next three years we are going to be building about 16,000 new affordable KiwiBuild homes,” Twyford said.

“The Treasury calculations are based on the impact of residential investment, not on the number of houses that are going to be built, or the speed with which they will be built. It’s Treasury’s I think incorrect assumptions on the impact of investment.”

Well we all know where we are now, as Cooke points out here

A year and a half down the track, that promise is in tatters. Just 141 homes are complete, a week ahead of a date when we were confidently told 1000 would be built, and they can’t even sell all of those. The 100,000-home promise is suddenly not able to be guaranteed, as the policy goes through a months-long “review” and political insiders openly speculate about Twyford’s fate in next week’s reshuffle. How on earth did we get here? 

This is a suitable place to leave the article. More in Part 3

So the policy as proclaimed by Ardern and Twyford is a failure

Does anybody really believe Megan Woods will do any better?

Ardern still professes confidence in Twyford. Is she really that stupid?

As presented KiwiBuild was a clear vote winner for Labour, but it was founded on bullshit and Labour and Twyford did nothing in opposition to develop the policy and were more interested in grandstanding, an approach that has continued.

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