Party calls for targeted Māori housing package

by Roxanne Libatique09 Apr 2021

It has been weeks since the government announced its new housing package, but many are still dissatisfied with the initiative – with Te Pāti Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer calling on the government to introduce a targeted Māori housing package in response to its latest data.

According to Te Pāti Māori, the housing crisis is hitting Māori communities harder than other New Zealand residents, with homeownership becoming increasingly unattainable for them. Māori homeownership rates have been falling since 1999, and in the latest census, Māori individual homeownership dropped to 26% compared with 41% for non-Māori.

“Yet the government’s recently announced housing package doesn’t include any specific policies targeted at increasing Māori homeownership. This is unacceptable,” Ngarewa-Packer said.

“Pākehā have net worth almost five times higher than Māori, while non-Māori have a 13% higher median wage. This disparity in wealth and income is locking Māori out of the housing market.

“In response to my questions in Parliament today, the government failed to show that they are on top of Māori housing needs and don’t have a dedicated and targeted plan to increase Māori homeownership.”

Ngarewa-Packer is urging the government to recognise the severe advantage that Māori face in the housing market and introduce a targeted Māori housing package that includes financial support schemes to help with deposits, such as the old Māori Affairs loans in the past. She also called on the government to address the lack of housing supply by building thousands more social and affordable homes.

“For many of our whānau, finding an affordable home, let alone owning their own home, is currently completely unattainable. It’s disgraceful that more than 11,000 Māori are currently on the Social Housing Register waiting list, 49.6% of the entire waiting list,” she continued.

“Current data indicates that 30% of Māori pay rent that is over 30% of their weekly income – which is an indicator of household poverty. To alleviate this pressure, the Māori housing plan must include rent controls and intersect with other crucial policies, such as lifting incomes for our poorest whānau through raising the minimum wage to $25 an hour and significantly increasing baseline benefit levels.”

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