Jacinda Ardern says Government not giving up on housing despite KiwiBuild not meeting 'our expectations'

Jacinda Ardern says the Government is not giving up on affordable housing, despite KiwiBuild having "not met our expectations".

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The PM couldn't say how many of the 16,000 homes originally due to be completed by the end of her Government's first term would be delivered. Source: Q+A

The Prime Minister couldn't say how many of the 16,000 homes originally due to be completed by the end of her Government's first term would be delivered when asked about the issue by Jack Tame on TVNZ1's Q+A programme.

"We've been very open that we're not on track at the moment. We've completed over 200 if I recall correctly, the last numbers I've seen.

"There are roughly 400 under construction and 10,000 contracted, so no we haven't met the goals that we've set then," Ms Ardern said.

When pressed by Tame over how close they'd come to meeting the original 16,000 target, the Prime Minister said: "That figure I don't have, I've just given you the set of numbers that I do have.

"This is why we're doing a reset, it hasn't met our expectations."

Her comments come after Ms Ardern announced a reshuffle with the housing portfolio, taking the sole responsibility away from Phil Twyford, and instead sharing the load between a team of five - to be headed by Megan Woods.

In the new team Mr Twyford handles urban development, Kris Faafoi takes on homelessness and social housing, while Nanaia Mahuta carries on with Māori housing and Jenny Salesa stays with building and construction.

In her Q+A appearance, Ms Ardern also defended her Government's response to tackling poverty and outlined its longterm commitment to the issue.

"I can only tell you what I know from the modelling and the last two budgets there are between 50 and 74 thousand children we lifted out of poverty by what we've done.

"I am not going to argue that it's enough, it's not, we've always said it's going to take us a few Budgets to turn what is significant under investment around, be it our education system, health or child poverty.

"But I know we are making a difference, because I read the letters from the families that say we are and I hear the stories and when I visit people at Auckland City Mission I ask them 'are you getting your entitlements, has it made a difference', is there more to do absolutely," she told Tame.

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Her comments come after front line workers told Q+A poverty has increased over the last two years.

The Prime Minister says she expects people to hold the Government to account over their policies.

"In our first 100 days we put in place a more than $5 billion package to try and lift people out of poverty in New Zealand, that included a universal child payment that focused on children in the early critical years.

"Increases to the family tax credit, the winter energy payment and in the last budget we also indexed benefits to wage increases.

"All I can say is we are holding ourselves to account by not only putting in place the goals to say what difference to children it will make," Ms Ardern says.

* 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.