Affordable Housing for Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau

This report has been commissioned by the Independent Māori Statutory Board and prepared by Te Matapihi He Tirohanga mō te Iwi Trust. The report assessed the opportunities to improve housing affordability for Māori in Auckland, and investigates the options and opportunities for establishing a Māori Housing Provider in Auckland. These opportunities and options were presented to a Māori Housing Hui held at Ruapotaka Marae, in Glen Innes, in June 2014. Attendees’ comments and discussion have shaped the findings and recommendations of the report.

What’s the background to this report? 

In 2012 Auckland Council released its Housing Action Plan to address an identified housing shortage in the region. The Housing Action Plan directs Auckland Council to support enhancing the capacity of Māori housing providers through opportunities for development partnerships on Māori-owned and other land.

In 2013, Auckland Council notified the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan, and agreed to establish Special Housing Areas through the Auckland Housing Accord with central government. ‘Affordable Housing’ rules in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan, and Special Housing Areas require housing developers to sell a proportion of any large-scale development at a price that is affordable to households on an ‘intermediate’ income – that is, between $58,000 and $88,000 per year. These provisions are intended to increase the number of houses affordable to households on a intermediate income, increasing homeownership. More 400 ‘affordable’ dwellings per year could be built in Auckland under these new rules.  

There are also on-going changes in central government social and affordable housing policy which provide opportunities for community housing providers. 

What are the key findings? 

  • Māori household income is significantly lower than household income of the general population. Proportionately fewer Māori households are likely to benefit from affordable housing provisions directed at the ‘intermediate market’ through Special Housing Areas or the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. 
  • Affordable housing can be sold to Community Housing Providers. There are currently few Community Housing Providers with a kaupapa Māori approach to housing operating in Auckland. However, Māori households and communities have specific housing needs – including concepts of papakāinga and living with whānau - which may best be met by a Māori Housing Provider. 
  • There are a range of Māori organisations in Auckland which could establish as a Māori Housing Provider – including Māori land trusts, hapū or iwi, Post-Settlement Governance Entities, and urban marae or Māori authorities. 
  • Possible functions for Māori Housing Providers include developing dwellings, building on existing networks through place-making and partnerships, and supporting smaller projects. There are opportunities for Māori Housing Providers to build on existing strengths and partner with existing organizations to provide a wide range of activities in communities. 
  • Governance of a Māori Housing Provider will depend on the functions and activities undertaken by a Māori Housing Provider, and the community to be served. An appropriate governance model will balance access to skills with the ability to respond to the local community.  
  • There are a number of possible sources of funding for a Māori Housing Provider. As well as philanthropic support, concessions from local government, and grants and loans from central government, new government housing policies offer opportunities to access Income Related Rent Subsidies and acquire social housing stock. Auckland Council’s affordable housing initiatives will also provide access to new housing stock for Community Housing Providers, and may offer alternative finance options for Community Housing Providers through the possibility of Housing Bonds. 
  • There is a critical need for a source of initial capital - either cash or land - to support any new Maori Housing Provider.

 

What are the recommendations? 

  • The report recommends changes to the criteria determining eligibility for affordable housing, introducing a range of affordable house prices that reflect differences in income and house price across the region, and increasing the number of developments required to provide affordable housing.
  • The report also recommends that Auckland Council develop an Auckland Housing Strategy to complement the existing Housing Action Plan. This Auckland Housing Strategy would identify housing needs, and link the provision of affordable housing to meeting these housing needs. 
  • To support the provision of kaupapa Māori housing, the report recommends that the value of cultural diversity in Community Housing Providers be recognized across government, and that Auckland Council directly supports Māori Housing Providers or Community Housing Providers meeting Māori needs to gain ownership of affordable housing stock. 
  • To ensure that policies developed by local and central government deliver opportunities for Māori Housing Providers, the report recommends creating an Affordable Housing for Māori Steering Group. This Steering Group will continue to work with local and central government, as well as providing information and support existing and future Māori Housing Providers in Auckland.
  • The report recommends that further work be done to establish the level of investment required by government and other investors to support the establishment of one or more financially sustainable Māori Housing Providers in Auckland.
  • The report recommends that the invitation from the Glen Innes community to hold a hui specifically focusing on Glen Innes issues is accepted.

Who are we? 

The Independent Māori Statutory Board was established in 2010 and is based in Auckland. During the 2009 ‘super city’ governance reforms of Auckland the government considered options for Māori representation. A board to promote important issues of Māori in Auckland with the newly formed Auckland Council was approved. The board works to improve Māori wellbeing and development for the benefit of all New Zealanders, particularly everyone who lives in, or visits Tāmaki Makaurau.

Te Matapihi He Tirohanga mō te Iwi Trust arose from a ‘call to action’ at the inaugural National Māori Housing Conference held in Rotorua in March 2010, and was legally constituted in October 2011. Te Matapihi operates as an independent voice for the Māori housing sector, assisting in Māori housing policy development at both central and local government levels, supporting the growth of the sector through existing and emerging regional forums, and providing a platform for sharing high quality resources and information. 

The Tāmaki Redevelopment Company was established in 2012, and is co-owned by the Council and central government. The company is charged with the urban regeneration of the Tāmaki area, which will involve redevelopment of the substantial Housing New Zealand Corporation stock in the area (over 3000 houses). In its strategic framework, Tāmaki Redevelopment Company identified a number of actions that are of specific reference to Māori, including the action to “Form partnerships with Māori and Pacific housing NGOs to improve housing outcomes”. The Independent Māori Statutory Board has encouraged Tāmaki Redevelopment Company to investigate opportunities for Māori housing providers.