KiwiBuild boss Stephen Barclay is in an employment dispute with the Government department overseeing the massive house construction scheme, the Herald understands.
Amidst growing calls for Housing Minister Phil Twyford to say why the KiwiBuild head has not been performing his duties since early last month, the new Ministry of Housing and Urban Development this afternoon issued a brief statement saying that Barclay had not resigned.
But that did not explain any background to his situation.
"Stephen Barclay has not resigned. While he is away from the office, Brad Ward is providing operational support for KiwiBuild. The ministry will not make any further comment," today's statement said.
Ward is listed as the head of the office of the Ministry's chief executive Andrew Crisp.
According to a source close to the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Barclay and the Ministry are in an employment dispute.
The Herald understands issues revolve around the transfer of KiwiBuild from the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment to the new Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, headed by Crisp.
The source said Barclay was still officially employed yet had not been working in any way in his role for around one-and-a-half months.
He would not comment when contacted today.
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KiwiBuild is one of the Government's flagship programmes and aims to build 100,000 homes across in New Zealand over the next 10 years.
Twyford announced in October that he had opened the new ministry which would "help the Government build New Zealand out of the national housing crisis and restore the basic rights to healthy, affordable housing for all New Zealanders."
HUD would implement the Government's ambitious housing programme to end homelessness, make housing affordable and make cities more liveable, Twyford's statement said.
The new ministry united a range of previously fragmented housing policy, funding and regulatory functions from MBIE, Twyford said at the time.