Media release: Advocate calls for Māori housing finance reform
21 September 2017
In a statement made last Sunday 17 September, Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox promoted the party’s Iwibank policy, which will see a Māori bank set up to administer housing, land development and business start-up loans. According to Fox, the bank would require start-up capital from the taxpayer, but would draw capital from iwi organisations, trusts and other sources.
Fox says that Kāinga Whenua, the one home loan scheme designed for housing on Māori land has done next to nothing to get Māori into warm, dry, affordable homes. Iwibank is being promoted as a potential solution to the low uptake of Kāinga Whenua, and other issues such as branch closures in remote areas.
The Labour Party has also promised that a Labour-led government will tackle the reform of Kāinga Whenua, and New Zealand First has a policy of providing low deposit and low interest finance to support Māori to build houses on collectively owned land.
In response, Māori housing advocate Te Matapihi is calling on whoever forms the next government to support the establishment of a Māori Housing Finance Think Tank. The proposed Think Tank would bring together government agencies, financial and legal experts, banking sector reps, iwi representatives and community practitioners to tackle the issue of Kāinga Whenua.
“Finance is one of the few persistent barriers when it comes to Māori housing, and we all need to work together to create options that better support the needs and aspirations of our people and the complexities of building on Māori land,” says Te Matapihi Chairperson Rau Hoskins.
An initial work programme for the Think Tank would be to identify critical success factors for lendees and issues with the current Kāinga Whenua service offering, and recommend changes to the scheme to increase uptake and support more Māori whānau into home ownership on whenua Māori. This could be extended to designing and piloting innovative financing alternatives with a wide range of Māori housing applications.