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'People want their politicians to be honest' - Megan Woods defends KiwiBuild rejig

Housing Minister Megan Woods has defended the Government's rejig of KiwBuild, saying people want their politicians to be honest and admit when something isn't working.

The Government last week ditched the promise it made at the last election to build 100,000 affordable homes over 10 years, with only 258 completed so far.

Instead it eased the criteria to get into KiwiBuild homes, including cutting Government-backed deposits for first home loans from 10 per cent to five per cent and bringing in shared ownership and rent-to-buy schemes.

The initial KiwiBuild promise was a key plank in Labour's campaign at the last election.

In an interview for tonight's Q+A programme on TVNZ1, host Jack Tame asked Ms Woods, who's also Labour's campaign chair, why should anyone now believe Labour's big promises heading into the election next year. 

"Look, Jack, I think fundamentally people want their politicians to be honest and to have the courage, when something isn't working, not to just have a bloody minded pursuit of a target 'cause you said it three years ago or four years ago, but to actually call time and say we're going to look at this, and we're going to make sure it works because this is too important," Ms Wood replied.

"New Zealanders need this and we are going to have the courage to say we need to reset it, because we have to get this right. We owe it to people," she said.

The Government has no specific targets for how many KiwiBuild homes will now be built, and Ms Woods was asked how the public is to hold it to account without a number that constitutes success or failure.

"Well, what we will see is more New Zealanders are getting the opportunity for home ownership," the minister replied.

"We'll see more New Zealanders getting into state houses, we'll see less New Zealanders living their lives in motels and more getting into permanent housing situations. 

"I think we all know what a successful housing picture looks like and it's not what we're currently in," she said.

Ms Woods said the Government will release figures on housing every month.

This will cover the number of KiwiBuild houses built, sold, consented, under construction and in the pipeline, she said.

The monthly release will also include "the broader picture of housing", taking in how many state houses the Government has built, Ms Woods said.

"So I think actually making sure that we're held accountable as a Government on the number of houses that has been delivered is incredibly important," the minister said.

* Q+A is on TVNZ1 on Mondays at 9.30pm, and the episode is then available on TVNZ OnDemand and as a podcast in all the usual places.

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The Housing Minister and Labour's election campaign chair was asked why should anyone believe Labour's big promises. Source: Q+A