Former Housing Minister Phil Twyford has been pilloried for his handling of the KiwiBuild portfolio, but newly released Cabinet papers on the "reset" show that the first draft back in May was very similar to that released this week.
The papers show that in early May when Twyford was still in charge of KiwiBuild, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development set out plans for a "reset" aimed at trying to boost the number of houses being built - and sold.
It is unclear what Twyford's verdict was of that report, but it would have widened the pool of buyers for KiwiBuild beyond first home buyers to include those such as downsizers or small-time investors if a first home buyer did not step up.
It also made it clear just how hard it would have been to have met the target of building 100,000 homes in 10 years.
Twyford's paper did not go so far as to recommend totally dropping the 100,000 target: the issue that got the most public attention and caused the most embarrassment.
In May, officials did tell Twyford it would remain hard to hit the 100,000 target, even by opening up KiwiBuild homes to more potential buyers and including some rental properties.
It warned the target was counter-productive, but made no direct recommendation to drop it. It did suggest setting up a way to track house building across a range of measures.
It was not until at least August that a decision was made to abandon the target altogether and instead report on progress on house building across a number of areas – from state houses to rentals to KiwiBuild homes.
The May report proposed offering more support to first home buyers, such as through a progressive ownership scheme and changes to KiwiSaver grants and Welcome Home loans.
Twyford had one setback, when his bid for a $450 million "Affordable Housing Fund" to focus on building rental housing and set up a progressive ownership scheme was knocked back for the Budget.
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However, Twyford did secure approval for a $400m carveout of KiwiBuild money which will now be used to set up a rent to buy or shared equity scheme – the details of which are expected by the end of the year.
The May report also recommended restricting the programme to places with an identified demand from first home buyers - a step Housing Minister Megan Woods is taking.
By that stage officials had also started talking about revisiting the three-year restriction on buyers wanting to on-sell the homes, saying both were deterrents to buyers.
All those factors were included in the final reset, announced by Megan Woods this week.
Woods' refinements included allowing buyers of one-bedroom and studio apartments to sell after one year rather than three, and provided for a progressive ownership scheme.
Woods also tightened up the use of the Crown underwrite.
Cabinet papers for the final reset also showed officials considered a range of options for dealing with unsold KiwiBuild houses before the decision was made to sell them on the open market, including turning them into state houses or using them for shared equity schemes.
In the reset the decision was made to sell houses that had not sold in Te Kauwhata, Wanaka and Canterbury on the open market.
Selling them to Housing NZ as state houses was ruled out partly because they were not built to the standards required for state houses or located where state houses were needed.
The Government also considered lowering the prices further to try to entice first home buyers, but as well as the financial loss involved that was considered unfair on others who had already bought at the higher cost in the same development.
Nor was waiting for a KiwiBuild buyer considered an option, because the Crown was covering costs such as rates, maintenance and body corporate fees.
Community housing groups were also approached to buy some homes to sell on under a shared equity scheme, but those groups advised they did not need houses in those locations, and would have to buy at a knock-down price to make shared equity financially viable.
That would have resulted in a cost to the Crown.
The papers also provide a scathing catalogue of the problems with KiwiBuild.
That included building homes in areas where first home buyers did not need them, and KiwiBuild houses in some areas were proving to be more expensive than other houses in the same area.
Officials noted that the number of first home buyers who were ready and able to buy was not high enough to provide the certainty to scale up the building "and developers will soon come to recognise this issue".
They said it was possible to provide more financial support for first home buyers to get them into the homes, but that would be "costly".
The officials said this made the KiwiBuild homes more suitable for second or third home buyers, rather than first home buyers who were more "price sensitive".