Politics

KiwiBuild house was already built and on the market

The Government is bolstering the number of KiwiBuild homes it can claim to have built by purchasing existing homes and adding them to the programme, according to Opposition Housing spokesperson Judith Collins. 

Collins tabled consenting and code compliance data in the House on Wednesday, which show a Rangiora home currently for sale as part of the KiwiBuild programme was consented in 2016. It was built and had been advertised for sale on the open market before being included in KiwiBuild. 

The Rangiora house was built by Mike Greer homes, and was underwritten by KiwiBuild on 22 November 2018, the same day the completed property was given its code compliance by Christchurch City Council.  

The KiwiBuild underwrite guarantees a minimum price for the home if it fails to sell, effectively de-risking the project for the developer.

A house advertised on the open market is now for sale as a KiwiBuild house. 

The house is also listed on nz.hougarden.com a Chinese language property website. The advertisement is still live, but lists the property as withdrawn or sold. 

Executive Director of Mike Greer homes, Mike Greer said the advertisement had appeared on the website without the company’s consent. 

Johanna Bainbridge, a Harcourts agent associated with the listing said the advertisement should have been removed.

“I wasn’t aware it was on this website,” she said. “I asked them to remove it.”

Housing Minister Phil Twyford defended the inclusion of the house in Question Time today, saying it should be considered in the context of the wider development. 

“It's not about whether an individual property in that development had begun construction before the deal was announced,” Twyford said. 

“The point of this arrangement with Mike Greer residential is that eight homes were included in the development. One of them had been under way before the contract was signed, but the point is that this is a collective deal, across eight different locations around New Zealand, and 104 affordable homes for first-home buyers is the result of this deal,” he said. 

A spokesperson for the KiwiBuild Unit said Mike Greer had been discussing joining the KiwiBuild programme since December 2017, with formal negotiations beginning in July after the KiwiBuild unit was created. 

“While the contract was still being negotiated, some of the homes under construction were included in Mike Greer Homes’s general marketing. Those home were formally moved into the KiwiBuild programme once the deal was agreed,” the spokesperson said. 

But Collins argues the fact the house was given its final code compliance, signifiying the build was completed, shows the development did not meet the “additionality test” which is used to assess KiwiBuild developments. 

On Tuesday, Twyford described the test as asking whether the proposal increased increase affordable supply for homebuyers in the KiwiBuild price range.

Collins told Newsroom the fact the house was complete on the date of its inclusion in KiwiBuild meant it would not meet Twyford’s test.

“KiwiBuild is now underwriting with crown or taxpayer money houses that were consented, built and in some cases marketed before he underwrote and guaranteed them,” Collins said.

“Phil Twyford is buying existing houses or houses that would be built to add to the KiwiBuild numbers,” she said. 

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