COMMENT: Megan Woods has given us KiwiBuild 2.0.
She made some stuff up when she delivered the reboot. She said we have a crisis, we don't. We have people that can't afford a home in certain parts of the country, we have always had that.
She said things like the Resource Management Act reform is helping people into their homes. They haven't reformed the Act yet.
She said some stuff that's worrying. They're cutting the developer underwrite, the problem with that is they already have trouble getting people to build these things. Making it harder isn't going to find you more builders.
They're allowing first-home buyers to flick some of their places in one year as opposed to the previous three. That's capital gain in whose pocket? Not ours.
But then she said some good sensible stuff. They're selling all the houses they haven't sold on the open market, it's a clear start.
They have dropped the 100,000 target, what else could they do?
But then what are you left with? Building as many houses as they can. What's that mean? Nothing.
They're dropping the deposit to five per cent: good. The Reserve Bank should never have put LVRs on first-home buyers anyway. And we wouldn't have the issue we have if they didn't. The deposit so often is the killer for a first-timer, not the mortgage.
They're putting $400 million into a shared equity scheme. It makes a level of sense, but $400m doesn't buy a lot of housing.
Other people can apply for KiwiBuild. A teacher, for example, moving from Ashburton to Auckland where house prices vary considerably could apply. And that might well solve an issue beyond housing, like staffing.
So, in total, Woods looks and sounds a lot better than old Phil Twyford, but that's not saying a lot.
And what she doesn't address, because she can't, is that no matter how many houses they build or don't build, are they affordable? Has she been able to take a $650,000 three-bedroom in Auckland and make it cheaper? No, she hasn't. And she knows she can't, because as she said several times, this isn't a silver bullet.
Which is basically where Twyford and co went wrong. Although they talk about the Government's roll in housing it's limited and it's always been limited. All they did was talk a lot of BS about what they thought they could do, or might do.
Twyford was an appendage swinger, talking smack. Woods is, at least, realistic. She's dialled down expectations. And what you're left with is vagary, they'll do what they can.
But in the area of getting first-homers into houses, you either have the dough or you don't.
So let's end with fact: home ownership is about where it's historically been. First-home buyers are major players in the market already. And you've got the added bonus right now of cheap money, and none of that has anything to do with the Government, never did.
What we saw yesterday was more about the Government extracting themselves from a political mess, than it was about building more houses.