Twyford Didn’t Make the Kiwibuild Conference

The Kiwibuild portfolio has been a tough one, but to be fair, Phil Twyford only has himself to blame. He promised the earth, without a clue as to how he was going to actually pull it off. The general thinking now is that Kiwibuild was conceived by Annette King, publicised by David Shearer, and grew out of nowhere to become a massive Labour promise in the 2017 election campaign. Only one problem though. Phil Twyford cried from rooftops about the failure of National to build private sector houses and promised that Labour would do better but he did it on the understanding that they would lose the 2017 election. They did lose the election, but they were put into government anyway. Then Phil Twyford had to deliver, and he had no idea how exactly he was going to do that.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford will be a no-show at Monday’s KiwiBuild Summit in Auckland.
But industry experts say his absence won’t matter, as they’re more interested in the nuts and bolts of delivery, rather than “high-level numbers” and politics.
“Phil’s been replaced by Sir Brian Roche, who’s the new chair of the Housing and Urban Development Authority – we’re really keen to hear from him, because he’s the one who’s tasked with delivering this,” Property Council CEO Leonie Freeman told The AM Show on Monday morning.
“[Twyford] was on the agenda at the beginning, but I understand he can’t make it.

Of course he could make it. He was always going to attend and then he wasn’t. Has he just got tired of trying to defend a government policy that is dead, gone and has absolutely no hope of succeeding in any way, shape or form? That is what this no-show indicates to me.

The KiwiBuild scheme, which promised 1000 homes in its first year and 100,000 in a decade, is off to a slow start. Its first birthday comes in a week but only 119 homes have been completed, and another 400 under construction.

Twyford used to be a regular on The AM Show, but hasn’t been on since last year – he’s declined 11 invitations to appear. In his place at the KiwiBuild Summit will be Associate Housing Minister Jenny Salesa.

Yeah, I know it’s tough Phil, but this is your portfolio. It was always going to be tough. Let me put it this way: if building 10,000 houses every year was easy, National would have done it. As things stand, they did better than you have so far, but then again, they also understood the market better than you. Sorry, Phil.

“It’s important to understand there’s a lot going on… Kiwibuild is just one part of it. I liken it to a Rubik’s cube – what we’ve got to do is get all the little colours and the little cubes in the right place working together.
“It was a really brave and bold target, and I think in hindsight they’ve learnt that perhaps it wasn’t realistic. But I’m hoping the reset will actually give a lot more clarity on how this can be done.”


A Rubik’s cube… well, it clearly was no such thing when Phil promised 100,000 houses… but suddenly, it is a Rubik’s cube, which, for most of us, represents a problem that requires a lot of resource and concentration to resolve. It is not impossible… just difficult. Clearly, Phil is not up to the task.

It was always a tough portfolio. Twyford made it sound easy. But he had no idea what he was talking about. And now, all those people who hoped and believed in Kiwbuild are disappointed and disenfranchised… not to mention probably struggling to continue to live in private rentals as the rules get harder and harder for landlords.

But of course, it was all about 9 years of neglect…

Phil Twyford has given up on Kiwibuild. So much for all those young families ‘locked out’ of the housing market. He can’t even front up to a Kiwibuild conference today. That is how bad things have become.