Thursday, February 04, 2010

Kainga Whenua

Interesting policy by which Maori can return to their land, put in place some new housing and hopefully improve their living conditions. Essentially requiring a three-way agreement between borrowers, land owners (who one presumes are whanau) and Housing New Zealand.

Perhaps this will be a topic for debate at the upcoming Maori Housing Conference. Certainly we need to move on the whole issue of Maori housing, with concerns for, among other things, overcrowding, uninsulated homes, and the security of electricity supply (especially for isolated communities). Since 1991 the proportion of Māori who own their own home has fallen from 61% to 45%. While some of this may be due to a quite rational decision to rent, given the Kiwi savings approach of paying off your house, this stat puts Maori in a very poor position for the future (oh, unless of course we're all squirreling away a good amount of our income into secure diversified investments...)

Iwi are starting to take this on this issue. Ngati Awa, for instance, are leasing six of their own houses to Housing NZ for specific whanau. (Incidentally I've heard Ngati Awa are exploring the possibility of using innovative, locally-sourced, building materials based on pumice...).

Of course they've YouTubed this announcement...

On a last note, I'm impressed by Kiwibanks proactive 'for NZ' stance on a number of issues (not least their consistently lower interest rates).

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Simon Lambert

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