The New Zealand Maori Council has called the country's housing sector "deplorable" and called on officials to address the growing waiting list for affordable housing.
“These people need to get a hotel room and get the housing crisis sorted,” said Matthew Tukaki, executive director of the New Zealand Maori Council. “The waiting list for public housing has been a pox on both their houses and, as a result, we are seeing it blow out to more than 14,000. That’s 14,000 Kiwis waiting for a home, which begs the question where are they living now? They are living on the streets, in car parks outside the supermarkets, packed into housing with whanau, motels and hotels. It’s a national disgrace that in a first-world nation we have this sort of tragedy and crisis.”
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“And it not just those on a benefit or pension – it’s also our working poor who cannot afford market rents or the bond to get into a house.”
In a statement, the Maori Council said that it will be supporting a national housing summit in March to “get down to the nitty gritty of depth of the problem as well as more solutions one what we can be doing.”
“In addition to this, the council is looking at models around land and housing bank so we can both open up land to social housing developments but also models around financing people on lower incomes into a first home,” said Tukaki. ““Whatever we do it must include both the affordable housing rental market and solid pathways to home ownership – and my warning to Government and the Opposition is to either get on the bus and come together or be taken on at the ballot box with an army of homeless people, their whanau and those on lower incomes with a baseball bat.”