The NDP opened up their new home construction rebate program to the public yesterday.

A promise made during the campaign, the program will provide as many as 1,500 people up to 50 per cent of the provincial part of the HST — to a maximum of $7,000.

Premier Darrell Dexter said the aim of the rebate is to boost the home building industry and help keep skilled trade workers in the province.

People with homes started since Jan. 1 can apply, a move that sparked criticism from the Tories, who said the deadline stretches too far back.

In a press release, PC leader Karen Casey said the rebate strayed from its original intention and now “functions more as a reward for those who have already begun the construction process and less of an incentive for new home starts.”

But the NDP said the cutoff was picked because it was the fairest starting date.