Is it time to tear up the plans and start again? Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delivered a masterclass in political sophistry and dissembling on Wednesday when she claimed, with a straight face, that the KiwiBuild goal of 100,000 homes built over 10 years remains in place. The line was repeated a few more times, as if we were watching one of those dry parodies of political interviews by Bryan Dawe and the late John Clarke.
That is a great comparison.
Those “interim targets” were to have 1000 homes built by July, another 5000 by mid-2020 and another 10,000 by 2021. As it stands, only 47 have been completed and 236 more are being built according to the KiwiBuild website’s dismal “Follow our progress” page. That translates as 30 finished houses in Papakura, 10 in Otahuhu and seven in Wanaka. Rather than 1000 homes by July, KiwiBuild will be lucky to get to fewer than 300.
It may be worse than that. Of the 236 “under construction” only 80 are known. 156 are “yet to be announced” which suggests they are not finalised.
Viewers of Netflix will be familiar with the Fyre Festival, at which some tech entrepreneurs promised to deliver the world’s most glamorous and exclusive music festival. The reality proved to be very different. It is not much of a stretch to say that KiwiBuild is turning into this Government’s Fyre Festival.
The Government’s flagship programme has just been compared to the world’s most well known global scam. Ouch.