Stephen Barclay resignation moment 'things fell apart' for KiwiBuild

Episode of: The Mike Hosking Breakfast

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Jan 23, 20192m
Stephen Barclay resignation moment 'things fell apart' for KiwiBuild
Jan 232m
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Former KiwiBuild boss Stephen Barclay's resignation and ongoing employment dispute is being labelled as the moment the programme "really fell apart" by a property expert. The head of the KiwiBuild unit resigned with immediate effect on January 18. Barclay, only who began in the role in May last year, had not been working in the position since early November, according to a spokeswoman. NZ Herald property editor, Anne Gibson, told Mike Hosking KiwiBuild has been plagued with issues since its start but Barclay's resignation was the final straw. "It's clear that he was in a dispute with the new incoming head of Phil Twyford's new ministry." "So what happened here, is it was a transfer of the KiwiBuild unit from MBIE to the new Ministry of Housing and Urban Development - that's headed by CEO Andrew Crisp and it appears to me that's when things fell apart." Gibson said it is still unknown what sparked the tensions between the two men. "Who has got the lawyers, is it that new ministry or is it Barclay? We still don't know but there appears to have been a clash between those two people." She said it is unlikely the details will ever be made public. "You would expect that a new ministry wouldn't go that to go to court, so a payout." Gibson said KiwiBuild's progress is well behind what it needs to be. "Its own monitoring show's we've only got 33 homes so that leaves 967 to be built by July one, is that doable?" Yesterday, Housing Minister Phil Twyford admitted KiwiBuild would fall well short of its first-year target. He said he remains confident the Government would still achieve its 100,000 homes over 10 years promise. The Government had previously said it would have 1000 KiwiBuild homes built by July this year but Twyford admitted today he was now only expected to have 300 built by then. He said the Government was now in the process of refining and looking at how to improve KiwiBuild. Earlier Twyford defended KiwiBuild after a damning report slammed the government programme as a "bewildered beast". The New Zealand Initiative released the report which claims KiwiBuild has little hope of delivering on its goals and is just a distraction from the real housing solutions. Speaking with Mike Hosking on Wednesday morning, Twyford said while the first few months have been tougher than expected, overall it's been a success. "We are six months in, we have got 47 homes completed, several hundred under construction, 4000 under contract and another 10,000 on top of that planned for the large scale urban development projects that we are in the process of setting up." However, Hosking wasn't convinced, listing multiple issues he saw with the programme. "Let me give you some of the issues I've come up with in the last six months," he said. "You promised houses for people, in your words, who were 'locked out of the market' that turns out not to be the case." "These are not people locked out of the market, these are people with $650,000 to spend [only] one-third of people on incomes have that money to spend, two-thirds don't." "You've got ballots with no demand. You've got prices in places like New Plymouth which are actually higher than the average price. Houses off the plan don't sell." "Houses that don't sell are now on the open market and now you've got Stephen Barclay. What part of that is good?". Twyford hit back at the claims, addressing the KiwiBuild prices first. "First you of all, your point about the houses in New Plymouth being higher than the average." "They are only higher than the average price in the suburb where they are being built, which has basically been a bombed out, derelict neighbourhood that used to be a state housing area which was mostly demolished." "The New Plymouth KiwiBuild houses are significantly lower than the average price in New Plymouth as a whole." However, Hosking wasn't convinced, saying that "simply not true". "I looked at the houses for sale, there were 26 for sale, they all looked perfectly respectabl...

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