Labour leader David Shearer has conceded his party's affordable housing policy will only be able to deliver small apartments or terraced housing in Auckland for the $300,000 price tag - while standalone family homes are more likely to cost up to $550,000.
Labour's policy to deliver 100,000 affordable homes over 10 years was the centrepiece of Mr Shearer's State of the Nation address yesterday, aimed at setting out his new "hands-on" approach and priorities for the year.
When he announced the KiwiBuild policy last year, Mr Shearer said the aim was to put "Kiwi families" into their first homes at a cost of less than $300,000. Labour has repeatedly defended that figure despite National's attempts to say it was dishonest because it promised the impossible.
After his speech yesterday Mr Shearer said the $300,000 figure Labour had quoted was the average price of KiwiBuild homes nationwide rather than applying to every house under the scheme. "In some places it will be more."
He said it was possible to build small homes for $300,000 in Auckland, including in Massey, Papakura and Manurewa.
"They are apartments, they are terraced houses. For a three- or four-bedroom standalone house it will be more."
Oh dear. It hasn't taken long for Mr Shearer to have to retreat from a policy that was created in haste, without any detailed planning. How embarrassing, especially with Parliament due to resume this afternoon where the policy will doubtless by shredded by opponents.
Perhaps Mr Shearer had been taking counsel from the Monty Python team:
There was 150 of us livin' in a shoebox in t' middle of t' road.
You were LUCKY!