February 11, 2022
Headwinds slow housing progress
A Māori housing advocate is defending Kainga Ora’s efforts to house Māori.
The state housing agency is coming under fire for what is seen as a failure to deliver on expectations, with National’s housing spokesperson Nicola Willis pointing to a net decrease in public housing stock during the second half of last year as more houses were demolished or sold than were built.
But Wayne Knox, the lead policy advisor for Māori housing support network Te Matapihi, says the figures show how hard it is to build in the current environment because of land and building costs and the supply of building materials during the pandemic.
He says the agency is responding to decades of underinvestment in housing and it is making Māori a priority.
“Kainga Ora are interested in working with tangata whenua, particularly where they have got land, and we see that in the Land for Housing programme, and we know there are a number of conversations happening around the country to look at where those partnerships can yield housing that will benefit directly our people,” he says.
Mr Knox says Māori make up half of the public housing tenants and half of those on the waiting list, so Kainga Ora has a critical role to play in Māori housing.