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The KiwiBuild Fiasco: How KiwiBuild fell down, and whether anything can be saved from the wreckage – #5

08/08/2019

I have been remiss in not posting more frequently on this Labour debacle helmed by Phil ‘The Builder” Twyford and promoted by Jacinda Ardern.

These posts are built around an excellent article at Stuff by Henry Cooke.

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

Previous posts can be found as follows

The KiwiBuild Fiasco: How KiwiBuild fell down, and whether anything can be saved from the wreckage – #1

The KiwiBuild Fiasco: How KiwiBuild fell down, and whether anything can be saved from the wreckage – #2

The KiwiBuild Fiasco: How KiwiBuild fell down, and whether anything can be saved from the wreckage – #3

The KiwiBuild Fiasco: How KiwiBuild fell down, and whether anything can be saved from the wreckage – #4

Now we look at how Phil ‘The Builder’ Twyford gung ho as ever set the targets.

So let us start

THE TARGETS ARE SET: MARCH 2018 – JUNE 2018

As the year gets going in earnest, KiwiBuild begins to solidify.

A massive build on the Unitec campus was announced on March 25, with over 1000 KiwiBuild homes expected as part of the eventual new suburb. Emails whizz between MBIE and Treasury, who have quite different opinions on the amount of new investment KiwiBuild will be able to unlock. One email, on April 9, mentions a “Government target” of 1000 homes in the first year. By the end of the month that target is made public as Twyford announces the first 18 KiwiBuild homes will be part of an existing development in Papakura.

And here we see the pattern emerging – let us repeat, in bold text, a key phrase from above

Twyford announces the first 18 KiwiBuild homes will be part of an existing development in Papakura

As usual announcements replete with photos of hard hat Phil.

As usual no new houses, in fact as the houses were going to be built anyway, you could well argue this depleted the housing stock. Yet NZ complicit media played along.

Then we see the lies multiply

This target is set for the first fiscal year of the policy, meaning July 2019 to July 2020. It is soon buttressed by a further target of 5000 for the year following and 10,000 the year after that, coming together to meet that “16,000 homes in the first years” target mentioned way back in November.

So at the effective end of 3 Years,based on the article we would have only 1000 houses.

At the time Twyford talked up the need for an interim target to spur the public sector into action.

But Stuff also understands the early targets were something of a political measure, as many voters in focus groups did not believe the Government would ever be able to build 10,000 homes a year.

So right from the start people didn’t believe that Labour was credible. So why did they persevere with a target that their focus groups said people didn’t believe?

Was it Twyford’s Messiah complex?

The well-publicised target immediately put a lot of pressure on the KiwiBuild unit, which finally got a permanent boss in Stephen Barclay at the end of May. This is widely speculated to have led to an over-reliance on the houses bought off the plan, which were already becoming politically difficult.

More than 100 proposals are received in the first Buying Off The Plans tender offer and only a handful are rejected outright. The projects carried forward are mostly quite piecemeal, not the multi-year large pipeline projects officials said were needed to get the construction sector employing enough people to achieve KiwiBuild momentum.

So right from the start the wheels were coming off,but Twyford ploughed on. His arrogance and ambition driving him inexorably towards failure in my view. As we have seen earlier he rubbished any views that were contrary to what he wanted to hear.

“Those initial targets were only going to be achieved by buying off the plans, and that clearly hasn’t worked,” housing activist and writer Brendon Harre said.

Both the target and the reliance on buying off the plan would haunt Twyford in the following year.

 Twyford’s arrogance was going to prove toxic for KiwiBuild and by extension to Labour.

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