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'Is this Kiwi Airbnb?': National slams Govt over KiwiBuild renting penalty

Newshub logoNewshub 8/11/2018 Jenna Lynch

Newshub can reveal more details about how KiwBuild owners can use the scheme to make some serious cash.

The Housing Minister is defending his decision to soften the penalties for those who flip the houses. But what about those who don't even live in them, and rent them out instead?

Phil Twyford was in defence mode on Thursday, following Newshub's exclusive KiwiBuild story on Wednesday, revealing homeowners could keep 70 percent of the profit if they sell the house within three years.

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"I wanted to clarify one or two things in relation to the Newshub story last night," he told reporters.

a couple of people posing for the camera © Newshub. "To require that the owner forfeits the entire capital gain would be unfair in our view, and would likely mean that they would struggle to then go on and buy another home."

There's more; it's not just selling, but renting KiwiBuild homes. Buyers are supposed to live in the house for three years, not rent it without permission.

Documents obtained by Newshub show if they do - and they're caught - they'll only be penalised 30 percent of the income and get to keep 70 percent.

a close up of a sign © Provided by MediaWorks NZ Limited

"It's just becoming an utter joke," says National's Finance spokesperson Amy Adams. "I mean, is this Kiwi Airbnb now?"

The Minister was at pains to justify his backdown. The rules are:

  • KiwiBuild buyers can only sell within three years with permission. If you get that, you keep all the profits.
  • If they're caught selling without permission, the Government can stop the sale.
  • If the sale does go ahead, the buyers are only liable to hand over 30 percent of the profit.
a close up of a sign © Provided by MediaWorks NZ Limited

"What we've got now is state-sponsored speculation," says Ms Adams. 

The penalty will only be charged if someone's caught.

Mr Twyford confirmed to Newshub they'll try to catch people through monitoring real estate online and combing through council records.

The Government wants to build 100,000 of these homes -that's a whole lot of internet trawling, with no guarantee they'll catch the rorters.

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