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Government needs 'accountability' of KiwiBuild targets - REINZ CEO

Newshub logoNewshub 31/01/2019 Zane Small
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The chief executive of the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) says she's "disappointed" the Government hasn't met its KiwiBuild targets. 

"We are disappointed," Bindi Norwell told Magic Talk on Thursday, going on to emphasise the importance of setting clear milestones and having "accountability". 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern scrapped interim targets for the Government's housing scheme on Wednesday, as she and Housing Minister Phil Twyford said the programme had been "re-calibrated". 

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The programme had hit a bump in the road, with the Housing Minister admitting the Government would fall well short of 1000 homes by the end of the first year, instead building just 300.

Ms Ardern and Mr Twyford said although the interim targets are no more, the original goal of producing 100,000 KiwiBuild houses in 10 years still remains. 

Ms Norwell said REINZ would like the Government to set new targets, telling Magic Talk 10 years "is a long time" and that new short-term targets should be set before the 2020 election. 

"I understand they're saying 100,000 homes over the next 10 years, however, anything can happen over the next 10 years, so I do feel we need some accountability prior to the election."

Asked whether the KiwiBuild scheme has made any difference to the housing market, Ms Norwell said it's "early stages of the programme, and I know that it's predicted to ramp up in the later years because it's not an easy task". 

"It probably hasn't made a huge impact yet, but hopefully over the long-term, it will. It is an important initiative, KiwiBuild - we need more supply. There's a 60,000 property deficit already in Auckland."

a woman smiling for the camera: Bindi Norwell said REINZ would like the Government to set new short-term KiwiBuild targets. © Image - REINZ / Screenshot; Video - Newshub / Magic Talk Bindi Norwell said REINZ would like the Government to set new short-term KiwiBuild targets. Auckland property prices have been "flat for 21 months", and the Government's foreign buyer ban could have played a part in that, Ms Norwell said. 

"I think that's partly due to it, but there are so many factors that are impacting the market at the moment. We have seen lots of regional growth because they have been very popular, the regions, for people to move to.

"We probably will see that continuation of the stabilisation of Auckland, maybe even a slight cooling, but we'll see what happens going forward when the market picks up."

Mr Twyford said a paper will be delivered to Cabinet in the coming weeks that will "recalibrate" the KiwiBuild policy, and the Prime Minister says that recalibration will then be shared publicly.

"We're looking at how we can make KiwiBuild a stronger incentive for developers, and how we can make it better for first home buyers," Mr Twyford said.

"The idea is to provide a package of assistance for developers that will be enough of an incentive to get them to commit to serious volumes of homes over a number of years."

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