New minister defends lofty house building targets

The new Housing Minister, Phil Twyford, is defending lofty targets for building desperately needed affordable homes. 

Mr Twyford is promising to build 10,000 homes a year for first time buyers under the Government's KiwiBuild policy. 

But it'll be the luck of the draw who gets one, with no means testing and no targeting for hard to staff professions like teachers. 

"That is the fairest way to do it, and we don't want to set up a heavy, bureaucratic, means-testing regime to do it," Mr Twyford told TVNZ's Q+A.

It was put to the Minister that the KiwiBuild pledge works out to 27 houses per day on average and he was asked how is that doable.

"In our first hundred days, we are taking the first steps towards setting up our KiwiBuild programme, our Housing Commission to lead the development of big urban development projects," he said.

The Reserve Bank has questioned the numbers using Treasury advice, saying 10,000 houses a year is more likely to be 5000 because private sector building will go down. 

But Mr Twyford said the Treasury advice was incorrect.

"We've looked at the advice. It was based on incomplete information. I've had the Treasury officials in my office. We've talked through all of the elements of the policy and I'm confident we can move ahead and be on the same page," he said. 

On top of the KiwiBuild homes, Labour is also vowing to double the number of state houses it builds. 

"I've asked officials to look at how we can double that and build 2000 extra state houses a year," Mr Twyford said. 

Phil Twyford also says those who get the affordable houses will be decided through a ballot, not means testing. Source: 1 NEWS