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Ex-KiwiBuild boss speaks out: style reflected urgency

Ex-KiwiBuild boss speaks out: leadership style reflected urgency

By Pattrick Smellie

Jan. 28 (BusinessDesk) - The ex-chief executive of the government's KiwiBuild initiative, Stephen Barclay, is accusing the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development of breaching his privacy by revealing that "leadership behaviour" was at the heart of an employment dispute that led to his resignation 10 days ago.

In a statement he says he felt compelled to make after disclosures by MHUD chief executive Andrew Crisp to news media, Barclay said the trouble only started when, within two weeks of Crisp starting his job in October, there was "a small number of complaints from individuals who held a close relationship to the CEO, Mr Crisp".

"The nature of the complaints related to Mr Barclay’s direct management style and dealings with certain individuals. They were entirely linked to the implementation of the KiwiBuild programme which was Mr Barclay’s only remit. His commitment was to execute against the targets of the KiwiBuild programme, and he was attempting to do this at pace," Barclay's statement, issued by a public relations firm, said.

Barclay had been in the role since July but was placed on leave in November, one month after MHUD was established and Barclay started reporting directly Crisp.

Crisp was quoted in a Stuff news report saying that "employees, contractors and stakeholders" had raised the issue of Barclay's behaviour as a leader.

Barclay said he was "extremely disappointed that the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development has divulged details of an employment matter and considers this a breach of privacy" and would pursue a case for constructive dismissal.

Crisp told Stuff there was no exit payment or confidential deal reached with Barclay, who chose to resign in January after, he says, being repeatedly denied requests for an independent investigation and for "additional people relevant to the complaints" being questioned. Prior to the complaint, Barclay said there had been "no issues raised about his performance, management style or leadership".

He claimed that KiwiBuild had been on track to meet its year one target of 1,000 homes constructed at the time of his suspension in November.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford conceded last week that the target would not now be met and that the government is exploring ways to reinvigorate developer and buyer interest in KiwiBuild homes.

National's housing spokeswoman, Judith Collins, today pointed media to evidence that KiwiBuild homes at a subdivision in Te Kauwhata, south of Auckland, are not selling, while sales of privately developed homes around them are being sold.

The Winton Homes development, dubbed Lakeside, offers a range of homes starting at the cost of a KiwiBuild house - $480,000 in that location - while larger 'vantage' style homes start at $590,000.


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