by Jordan Williams, Taxpayers Union

New Zealand’s bloated public service is already a beast chomping through Kiwis’ taxes, but one agency seems determined to expand at a rate of knots. Kāinga Ora have hired 1,700 extra staff in the last four years and it has been revealed that they intend to hire 465 more staff by June 2023. This is the same agency Government agency that recently spent $24 million on renovating their own offices!

And what do they have to show for it? In the year June 2021 to May 2022, Kāinga Ora has added 21 net new state homes.  

I got up early last week to join Kate Hawkesby on Newstalk ZB’s Early Edition – listen here.

But wait, there’s more – meddling Kāinga Ora outbidding and overspending

The Government’s meddling is driving up the cost of land and contributing to the ongoing housing crisis.

By outbidding in excess of 10 private developers to purchase the land at Ferncliffe Farms, the Government is wasting taxpayer dollars and preventing healthy competition in the market between buyers who can develop the housing New Zealand needs without taxpayers having to foot the bill.

Minister Megan Woods has touted Kāinga Ora’s rule that they must spend no more than 5% more than valuation on land purchases, but when the valuations are based on wild assumptions and an inaccurate picture that rule doesn’t protect against overspend.

Officials from Housing and Urban Development explicitly told Minister Woods and Minister Robertson that ‘neither of the two valuations [for Ferncliffe Farms] reflect true market value of the site’. It is difficult to fathom why then the Government proceeded with the sale.

The Government must get out of the way of private developers who have the expertise and private capital to get developments done. Driving up the price of land and your hard-earned cash to do so is both counterintuitive and nonsensical.