COMMENT: So the question is simple: how is it, in a so-called housing crisis, you can build 10 affordable homes in Wanaka and hardly sell any?
You have a ballot - no one applies. You extend the ballot - no one applies. You stick the houses on the open market.
And these are houses about $100,000 below the others in the neighbourhood. The neighbourhood is a new development of 800 homes, so not all are KiwiBuild homes.
Wanaka is beautiful, Wanaka is in demand, Wanaka is part of the tourist mecca where we hear over and over again that accommodation is at critical levels - so why are these houses not finding owners?
Now what makes this hard for KiwiBuild, which already has a world of trouble around it, is the homes. Now they're on the open market, they're no longer part of the KiwiBuild programme, so I am assuming the 40-something houses they claim to have built don't include these ones, or do they? And if they do, are they now stacking numbers?
And as a result of these homes not being part of the programme the people behind the homes are saying and I quote "it makes it more straight forward for first-home buyers". Is that statement an indication that the Government has wrapped this thing up in a level of administrative complication that is actually putting people off? And if it has, what are they doing about it?
Also complicating matters is the Real Estate Institute, who want the Government to come out with new targets, and numbers of just how many homes are going to be built before the next election. Their rationale being with any large project it is essential milestones and targets are set in order to measure progress.
Yes, in the normal way of doing things that's true, but Phil Twyford isn't in charge of those things.
The trouble the Government faces when it sets targets is that as well as not meeting them, you can fall thousands short, hence targets for the next three years have been scrapped.
And I would argue the chances of them coming back with new targets are zero, because the reality is they won't be making that mistake again. And the cold hard truth is even if you could convince them to put a number out there they could be confident on, the number would be so embarrassingly low they'd become a political laughing stock.
Not that they haven't already, but it would merely be compounded.
So is the conclusion that governments can't shift markets? Markets shift markets, and markets operate on demand, subtlety, and nuance based on years of coalface experience. They understand the customer, understand the business environment, and supply a product they can be confident will be well received.
Labour's KiwiBuild expertise seemed solely as a result of having Winston Peters pick them as a coalition partner, and the rest was a series of calamitous announcements, none of which came to pass and it's been all downhill from day one.
Yes, the country needs houses, but it was getting houses and getting them from experts not bogged down in red tape and ideology.
If you can't build and sell a cheap house in Wanaka, I suspect you're in the wrong game.