Housing minister just joking about building 30-45sqm homes

Housing Minister Phil Twyford was asked by Judith Collins a very specific question about the size of homes that would be built under Kiwibuild on the Unitec site. His reply led many to believe that homes of 30 square metres would be built for first home buyers which are homes smaller than a double garage.

His reply was taken at face value because it made sense as his latest proposal was to fit up to 4000 homes onto a site that was originally proposed to fit only 2600 homes.

He now says that he was not advocating thirty square metre apartments and that he was actually poking fun at ex-PM Bill English who had said ‘People have to live somewhere and they can choose to live in something that’s too small.’

When asked yet again, directly by a reporter about what size the homes be on the Unitec site he avoided giving a straight answer to the very simple question just as he avoided giving Judith Collins a direct answer during oral question time in parliament. When the reporter continued to push he kicked the can down the road saying he will have an answer in a few months.


What kind of a government purchases land for development and claims that they will build up to 4000 homes on it when they won’t know for months what size homes they will be building on the site? If they don’t know the size then they cannot estimate the number of houses.

Twyford and the government appear to have bitten off more than they can chew. To build 4000 homes they will have to be small to fit them on the Unitec site and banks do not like lending on small homes. Affordable homes are not affordable for first home buyers if they need a 50% deposit to buy a $600,000 home.

Twyford is now frantically trying to have ‘conversations’ with the banks in order to convince them to take the risk of lending on small homes. With banks, everything is about managing risk. Is the government planning on providing the banks with security over these first home buyers’ mortgages in case they fall over? I don’t see how else they will be able to push the banks into taking such a risk (especially since the first home buyers under Labour’s scheme will be unable to sell the homes if they get into financial trouble in the first five years.)

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