Whaleoil transcript: Ardern on NZ First’s absence from her speech & KiwiBuild

Mike Hosking.

Newstalk ZB recording starts at 12:54

Mike

Did you read Fran O?Sullivan?s piece on your state of the nation speech last week?

Jacinda

Ah? I?ve? I?ve had a precis of it. (snorts)

Mike

Woolliness will not cut it. She ends the?

Jacinda

And I have to say that I really disagree with that assessment and that was not the feedback I had from those in the room and from members of Business NZ.

Mike

Why were there no NZ First ministers there?

Jacinda

I simply had ministers there who um… ah… had relevant portfolio areas to some of the issues that were discussed at that business breakfast… actually…

Mike

Foreign affairs, state owned enterprises, regional development and infrastructure ? they are not relevant?

Jacinda

Predominantly, Mike, the conversation at that breakfast was, um… trade and skills in trade training and of course we have the finance minister there. Any minister is welcome to attend a Business NZ breakfast so it wasn?t?

Mike

I?m sure they are. That?s why I was asking why they weren?t there.

Jacinda

Oh, oh look those will be questions directly for them. Scheduling, I imagine. Nothing more dramatic than that.

Mike

Scheduling like the Chinese? Same difficulties with the Chinese?

Jacinda

Mike? Mike? ask, ask individual ministers? there?s no? there?s no scandal here. But I just want to push back on this? this? this statement that you relayed from Fran. You know, we are facing some headwinds. We have strong fundamentals. We have the second lowest unemployment in a decade. You know we are running surpluses. Our growth projection is particularly relevant ah, ah, to? ah? opposed to some of those developing nations? is strong ah… at roughly 3% but we are facing some headwinds. We do need to focus on diversifying our trading partners. We need to address our skills in trade training issues. We need to invest in infrastructure because we have had a deficit, deficit for some time. You know there is nothing woolly about our agenda so I really challenge that statement. And thank you for allowing me to say that.

Mike

Why can?t you sell a KiwiBuild house in Wanaka?

Jacinda

I just checked in on those latest numbers because of course, um… I read your column with great interest, um… each week, Mike and I saw your questions around that. My understanding is that of course the sale programme for that has been over the?.

Recording ends.

New recording., Newstalk ZB.

?period that they?ve been built. They?ve only just been completed over summer. Summer is not a great time, of course, to be selling houses. People have their minds on other things. But we are talking about those houses that have just been complete.

Mike

That doesn?t mean? answer the question, why can?t you sell them?

Jacinda

Again, I?m simply saying they?ve only just finished being built.

Mike

But they?re not in the Kiwi pro…they’re not in the KiwiBuild programme anymore.

Jacinda

The houses that you are talking about? I think we might be talking at cross purposes?

Mike

No, no, there?s 10 houses, two are sold, eight are no longer in the KiwiBuild programme.

Jacinda

Well, certainly, my understanding?.

Mike

And they?re not in the KiwiBuild programme because you couldn?t sell them.

Jacinda

No, that is not my understanding, Mike.

Mike

Where?d you get your understanding from?

Jacinda

Ah… from the minister?s office. I understand there is still a small handful that are considered KiwiBuild but they?ve only just been completed.

Mike

Okay. The Real Estate Institute want you to set new targets for KiwiBuild before the election. Will you?

Jacinda

I would have to understand their rationale. We?ve got a target. It?s 100,000 houses in 10 years.

Mike

Well, their major?well their major… they say before the election it?s important for the industry to be able to see targets set, targets met or otherwise, and they have no understanding of what you are doing between now and the next election now.

Jacinda

I obviously would dispute that. We?ve set um? ah… an aspiration of 100,000 houses over 10 years. We are seven months in? um? we will continue to be transparent. The Real Estate Institute will continue to see the numbers around how we are progressing and that includes contracted, ah… we have ah… contracted, for instance, 4,000 houses for? to be built under the KiwiBuild programme ah… and people will continue to see those numbers.

Mike

But between now and the next election we have no targets now.

Jacinda

But you do know exactly what we are doing Mike. And I think the most important thing there is people have transparency around the programme and how it?s tracking.

Mike

But you had targets, you don?t have targets now, and we have nothing between now and the next election, therefore they would argue they don?t know what?s happening, because there are no targets.

Jacinda

Again, um… I would say that the most important thing is people know exactly how we are tracking, how many we?ve built, how many we are scheduled to build, and that?s the information we are putting out there.

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