Auditor-General takes up National’s KiwiBuild complaint

The office will investigate the “suspicious looking” underwriting deal

Auditor-General takes up National’s KiwiBuild complaint

The Auditor-General’s office has confirmed it will investigate concerns about taxpayer cash being used to underwrite KiwiBuild houses.

According to National MP Judith Collins, the auditor general agreed with the concerns she raised about the way KiwiBuild operated under former Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford.

“In my view, serious questions need answering about the way taxpayer funds were used to prop up Labour’s flagship housing programme,” she said in a statement.

Collins points to “the suspicious-looking deal” to underwrite houses already under construction, including Huapai, north of Auckland and Canterbury. She noted KiwiBuild’s Cabinet paper made it clear the taxpayer underwrite was for homes sold “off the plans” and offered for sale “in the first instance” to KiwiBuild buyers.

Read more: Government extends second underwrite for KiwiBuild homes

“The apartments were also unsuccessfully offered for sale at the same price KiwiBuild later underwrote them for,” Collins said. “All of this runs contrary to what Cabinet had approved funding for.

“There was absolutely no benefit to taxpayers by underwriting these already complete apartments.”