Duncan Garner: Kiwibuild has failed but the private sector has stepped up

Opinion 03/07/2019

Much has been made of the Government's failure to build Kiwibuild houses.

But this Government has also failed to truly tell the public what's going on in housing. 

It's been all doom and gloom, Kiwibuild's failings have totally distracted the Government.

They somehow had to build all these houses based on an empty, hollow slogan. 

But away from the Government's fumbling, bumbling - bamboozled by themselves - housing mess, truth is the private sector just got on with the job of building houses. 

And they have set a record, not that you'd know. Memo to the Government.

Here's the crucial number - 34,392 - that's the total number of annual residential building consents issued in the year to April this year. That's the bit of paper that says, 'yep, go for it, build the house'. 

This 34,392 is the highest number of consents ever issued in New Zealand in one year. 

It's driven by demand in Auckland and the Waikato, and is 7.4 percent more than the year before. 

Here's the embarrassing bit, the Government built only 141 Kiwibuild houses, of which dozens couldn't be sold. 

The true picture in housing is strong.

Our issue is we can't keep up, we don't build enough truly affordable houses and the Government should have got hold of this 34,392 number and rammed it down our throats. 

They should have compared these record levels of consents to 2011.

When house building under National collapsed, just 13,500 houses nationwide were built, that's nationwide. 

Yet 72,000 immigrants arrived that year, and every year for the next eight years, the equation doesn't work.

We couldn't house them. For every 140 people arriving in Auckland each week, only 80 could find a house - it drove up homelessness. 

We are 10 years late to the party, but we're there now. So congrats to the private sector despite all the finger pointing, accusations, policy on the hoof, you just got on the tools and haven't stopped. 

Take a bow, now back to work.

Duncan Garner is host of The AM Show.