KiwBuild was supposed to add 100,000 houses for those struggling to get into their first home.
But KiwiBuild has turned into KiwiBuy or even KiwiBeg.
The government buying houses that were going to be built anyway will put public money at risk without adding a single extra dwelling to the nation’s housing stock.
The housing shortage is caused by an imbalance between supply and demand.
There are several reasons for that including a consent process akin to trying to run through a river of treacle in gumboots.
Not PC gives some examples of the hoops that add time and cost to the process:
. . .In recent months, for example, and like every regular applicant for building consents, I’ve spent many, many hours replying to council’s Requests for Further Information (RFIs). These days it’s often less about being a designer than it is about being a lawyer, explaining the building code clauses to the processor at the other end of an email.
The simplest RFI responses are to tell the questioner where precisely in the document set they can find the answer to their question, already addressed. But in recent months it’s been getting worse. Among other things, in order to keep things moving I’ve been required to tell council the make and model of a shower and the finish of a bathroom cabinet; the colour of bedroom carpets (accompanied by a calculation to show they’re bright enough); the normal process by which to pour a concrete footing in engineered soil, to abandon approved details because the territorial authority has decided they don’t like them, and to replace them with those they’ve now decided they do; to discuss the acoustics of polystyrene sheets (that are not being used for acoustic purposes); to resupply calculations and statements that the processor has already received, but lost; to explain why handrails are not required on steps with fewer than two treads, and how an opening window into an open lightwell allows light and air into a room; to draw up a list of a project’s “construction and demolition hazards”; to provide mechanical ventilation rates for areas we’ve shown will use natural ventilation; to draw up simple diagrams because processors are unable to read fairly standard plans; to confirm the use of smoke detectors (when they’ve already been clearly placed and labelled on drawings); and (in the absence of council finding anything else to ask about) to draw a detail of a bathroom splashback — just some examples of recent Requests from processors, all of which have wasted my time and theirs, unnecessarily dragging out the consenting process, and all at the time and expense of clients who were once very eager to build. . .
The worst example that I’ve come across was an applicant being asked to draw on a plan where the furniture would go.
If the government was really serious about a long-term solution to housing it would be addressing problems with the Resource Managment Act and building regulations.
It would also ensure council staff stop playing silly beggars with the consent process.
Until that happens KiwiBuild, KiwiBuy and KiwiBeg will be KiwiFail.