As a columnist you sometimes feel like a politician, having to weigh in on all sorts of issues and sound convincing. And sometimes, also like a politician, you can trip yourself up and the words don't come out how you meant. You just hope it doesn't detract from your main points.

Alas, a poorly worded sentence from last week's print edition of my column probably created some confusion.

When referring to the Government putting KiwiBuild prefabricated houses on publicly owned land, as well as land owned by iwi trusts and other charitable institutions, I didn't mean to suggest a 21st-century land grab. KiwiBuild's powers aren't that extreme!

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What I had in mind was the Government concentrating its KiwiBuild endeavours on land that's currently publicly owned and would be suitable for housing development.

Prefabricated homes under construction. The Government could buy prefabricated homes in bulk and then on-sell to iwi trusts and other social housing providers, says Vaughan Gunson. Photo/File
Prefabricated homes under construction. The Government could buy prefabricated homes in bulk and then on-sell to iwi trusts and other social housing providers, says Vaughan Gunson. Photo/File

Identifying spare land across the various government ministries and local councils which could be sold to first home buyers is what an efficient KiwiBuild ministry should be doing.

But the other possibility I see - which wasn't differentiated clearly - was the Government buying prefabricated homes in bulk and then on-selling to iwi trusts and other social housing providers.

The Government could use its buying leverage to assist New Zealand's social housing providers to get on with the job of adequately housing individuals (mostly elderly people) and families who are in desperate need.

The number of social housing providers in the country is extensive. The Community Housing Aotearoa website lists the charitable organisations active in this area.

What I'm advocating, then, is a broadening of what KiwiBuild should be. This might be the only viable political option left open to the Labour Party.

Instead of one policy, which has been poorly applied in practice, KiwiBuild would be better to encompass a range of policies and initiatives.

As I argued last week, building state houses in much greater numbers is one solution to high rents.

The Government could also use its ability to borrow at low interest rates and act as banker to first home buyers on low to medium incomes. Government housing loans, to those old enough to remember, have been a tool for addressing housing affordability in the past.

The Green Party has a rent-to-own policy that's worth looking at.

Building 100,000 new homes over 10 years, above what the private sector will achieve, is still possible. It just requires Labour to reject half measures and arm itself with a full range of tools to get the job done.

And if that means allowing more overseas tradies into the country, then that needs to be fast-tracked too.

While there are valid criticisms of how KiwiBuild has functioned so far, there's still broad public support for the Government doing something.

That's where National's ad attacking KiwiBuild is in error. It's not the sexism that's outrageously outdated, it's National's reading of the political landscape.

It's easy to ridicule and make jokes, but where's National's answer to the problem? What are they going to do for younger generations who can't buy a house or rent one at a reasonable price?

The ad might play well to National's core voters, but it's a risky strategy if it alienates people who find the housing situation no laughing matter.