Report from the Political Tent at Te Tii Marae, Waitangi

The political tent was set up outside Te Tii marae this weekend. Te Matapihi provides a short update on the housing issues discussed during today’s political forum.

Invitations were made to each of the 13 registered political parties. Labour, Māori Party, Greens, Mana, Gareth Morgan’s Opportunities Party (not yet registered), ACT NZ, NZ Democrats and the Conservative Party all accepted the invitation, and took to the stage to discuss their party views and policies in relation to Māori. NZ First’s Winston Peters was noticeable absent, as was National’s Paula Bennett, who declined the invitation. Both had been present at Waitangi at various points over the past few days.

Andrew Little discussed Labour’s position on Housing, presenting strong views and a coherent set of policies, but none specifically targeted to Māori. One of Labour’s policies is to build 100,000 new homes, half in Auckland and half in the regions. Clearly, housing is a hot issue for Labour and one of (or possibly, the) key issue Labour will be campaigning on this election year. Kelvin Davis had the opportunity to speak later in the programme, but did not discuss housing issues directly, instead focussing on his work with corrections, and the need for taha Māori health and social services.

Māori Party’s Tukuroirangi Morgan and Mana’s Hone Harawira presented a united front, seemingly confirming rumours that the two parties will work closely together this election year. Hone spoke convincingly of kotahitanga, and his key message was around Mana Māori Motuhake as the basis for any policy positions. Tuku specifically discussed putting an end to non-citizen land sales, and training pathways into Māori business for rangatahi. This suggest an openness from both the Māori Party and Mana to developing policies that build regional economic development alongside housing.

Marama Davidson of the Green Party also briefly spoke on her party’s policy to support first home buyers to purchase their first home. She emphasised the need for this scheme to be government run, not by external agencies who are required to make a profit. Unfortunately, Marama arrived during the Q&A after the time allocated for speeches had concluded so did not have the opportunity to present her party’s policies. We look forward to hearing more on the Green Party’s policies for housing Māori. 

A question was posed from the audience by Jenny Galpin of the Ōtangarei branch of the Māori Women’s Welfare League. Jenny asked candidates – what is your position on enabling HNZC tenants, who wish to purchase the housing they currently occupy, to do so? Tuku Morgan suggested an accord between Iwi and the Māori Women’s Welfare League could be a practical step forward, to enable RFR homes that iwi do not wish to purchase to be passed on to interested tenants. 

As was to be expected in Ngāpuhi, the questions from the floor tended to veer towards issues of tino rangatiratanga and He Whakaputanga me Te Tiriti. Alongside this, strong support for our Māori political candidates was evidenced, with a degree of respectful scrutiny and a demand for accountability.

As part of our political advocacy this election year, Te Matapihi will be on-the-ground, listening to our people, and producing robust analysis to develop a set of policies that support improved housing outcomes for Māori. We will be populating our policy statements and analysis with political candidates, and seeking cross-party support on key issues. More on this soon.