Kāinga Ora delays building projects ahead of review

KiwiBuild programmes have been delayed after the announcement of a review into Kāinga Ora. File...
KiwiBuild programmes have been delayed after the announcement of a review into Kāinga Ora. File photo: RNZ
Kāinga Ora is unable to say how many new KiwiBuild developments have been delayed as it waits for the outcome of the government's independent review of the state housing agency.

The coalition government announced the review in December, headed by former Prime Minister Sir Bill English.

Select committee documents show Kāinga Ora made the decision to delay some work programmes - such as KiwiBuild -following the probe's announcement .

KiwiBuild works by underwriting a portion of homes in new developments, and in return participating developers agree to sell them to eligible buyers below or at the programme's price caps.

Responses from the agency to RNZ said it had halted releasing the outcome of any new underwrite proposals for KiwiBuild while the agency awaited further guidance and direction from the government - through both the independent review and Budget 2024 decisions.

This decision was made without direction of the Housing Minister, with the housing provider having told RNZ they had taken a "prudent approach."

The review is expected to be released in the coming months.

KiwiBuild was established in 2018 by the previous Labour government as a flagship policy, with the initial goal of building 100,000 homes over 10 years.

Documents also show it has stopped any new acquisitions under the Kāinga Ora Land Programme, which allows the agency to borrow up to $2 billion for land purchases and development costs to build affordable housing.

Since it was established in 2021. it has bought three pieces of land. The 95.3-hectare Ferncliffe Farm in Tauranga, a 2016m2 site in Wellington's Adelaide Road and 3.68-hectare site in Quaifes Road in Christchurch.

The housing provider told RNZ it was also continuing negotiations regarding a fourth site due to these discussions having begun before the review was announced.

When Housing Minister Chris Bishop announced the review, he said it would cover its financial situation, procurement and asset management.

"It is critical that Kāinga Ora is focused on efficiently building social houses for people in need while also delivering value for taxpayers' money, and this review will be able to provide recommendations to ensure that these objectives are being met."