With indicators from ANZ Business Confidence that residential construction intentions have fallen back into negative territory, house builders around the country will be willing KiwiBuild to make a swift recovery from a shaky start.

With the initial plan to build 100,000 homes for first home buyers, KiwiBuild's new Minister, Megan Woods, is still thinking through the reset of KiwiBuild aspirations, after the cabinet reshuffle and her office said this week that there was no news yet on the details of that.

It did say however that it was progressing as planned on gathering a short list for innovative New Zealand construction companies to help with the off-site manufacturing (OSM) of homes to help expedite the number of homes being brought onstream in coming years.

While it had seen 41 out of 44 presentations from building companies on their OSM capabilities and once these were finished a short list will be announced later in the year, says a spokeswoman for KiwiBuild.

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With Kiwibuild, the Government is hoping to ease the pain of a down cycle.

"Because the scale of the KiwiBuild programme is so vast, the demand it creates allows the construction and development industry to make confident investments in their people and new technology. It will help to smooth out the 'boom-bust' cycle that has plagued the sector in the past, and help prevent another housing shortage emerging in the future," says the spokeswoman.

Lockwood Group managing director Andrew La Grouw, based in Rotorua, said he was expecting to hear maybe even next month or October following his presentation in April this year.

"We are very interested. Our ready-built business for Lockwood houses, building in the factory has been up and running and is a very important part of our business.

The Government's interest in OSM means everyone can accept that factory built- housing has a legitimate place in New Zealand construction industry, he says.

Meanwhile he says, what he has learned so far from the KiwiBuild process is that inevitably it is an initiative that is highly politicised, he says.

"It's unfortunate because the intention behind KiwiBuild is very good. Obviously we need more houses.

More houses in New Zealand is going to be better for everybody including babyboomers with rentals. It will benefit them because their children might be able to buy a house."

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"Like many things in government and politics, you just wish we would have a political system where you set a strategic plan, figure out a way to best execute it and the job gets done," he says.

"I just wish we had an awesome political system with cross-party commitment to these fundamental projects which are the key to our future and it doesn't matter who is in power."

La Grouw would like to see the bulk of future housing development happening in the regions including Rotorua, having seen township development working well in Germany.

"With the likes of Auckland building capacity already well overstretched, any additional demand has to come from the regions," he says.

The Government has two big challenges, the availability and cost of land, says the Lockwood MD.


The powers of Kāinga Ora Homes and Communities, which was initially called the Housing and Urban Development Authority, will help with this. The body, which is set to start on October 1, will include implementing the Urban Growth Agenda, a programme which will address land supply, development capacity and remove constraints to development.

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Meanwhile, the fastest-growing sector in the building industry is New Zealand-Chinese, according to Frank Xu, President of the New Zealand Chinese Building Industry Association (NZCBIA).

An NZCBIA survey shows close to $10.69 billion of work by Chinese-owned developers forecast in this country over the next eight years.

Close to $1.8 billion of projects by Chinese owned developers has been completed in New Zealand since 2010 with the bulk of that (84 per cent) in the residential sector and in Auckland (90 per cent) while 12 per cent of developments have been in the commercial sector and 4 per cent in the industrial.