KiwiBuild boss resigns after reports of dispute
The head of the Government's KiwiBuild unit has officially resigned, following speculation about an employment dispute and prolonged absence.
A brief statement issued by PR agency Anthem on behalf of KiwiBuild head Stephen Barclay confirmed he had "resigned from his role as Head of KiwiBuild at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development with immediate effect" as of Friday.
In December last year, the NZ Herald reported that Barclay had been involved in an employment dispute over KiwiBuild’s move from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment to Twyford’s new ministry, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.
According to the Herald, Barclay had not been at work for roughly six weeks despite still remaining officially employed.
Housing Minister Phil Twyford dodged questions about the circumstances of Barclay's employment at the time, while Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she could not comment on an "operational" matter.
“Unfortunately I’m going to be very boring on this, and there’s not much more I can say on it,” Ardern told media in December.
"What I can say, because I have seen some of the speculation, is that the chief advisor Andrew Crisp advises me that this is nothing to do with the KiwiBuild policy or the implementation of the KiwiBuild programme."
Newsroom has asked the Government's duty minister for comment about Barclay's resignation, its potential impact on the KiwiBuild programme, and whether he has received a payout as part of any settlement.
The Government's Kiwibuild programme is working towards a long-term goal of delivering 100,000 houses in a decade, despite some criticism about a slow start since it took office.