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Maori and Pacific home ownership falling

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 9/06/2016

Homes for sale © Getty Homes for sale Maori and Pacific homeownership has dropped by up to a third, with families in "desperate situations".

Figures just released by Statistics New Zealand show in the past 25 years, home ownership rates for Pacific and Maori fell at a faster rate than the total population.

Rates are down 34.8 per cent for Pacific people and 20 per cent for Maori, compared to 15.3 per cent for the total population.

The declines were even larger in some bigger North Island cities, but even in centres such as Whangarei, southern Auckland, Tauranga and Rotorua, Maori home ownership has dropped by close to 40 per cent.

Labour says the falling rats are due to the government's failure to address the national housing crisis.

Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri says a massive state-backed affordable housing programme is needed and it's no good "tinkering around the edges."

"We are seeing more and more of our whanau in desperate situations - living in cars and garages or sharing homes with a number of other families," she said on Thursday.

"Maori are at the sharp end of the housing crisis."

Labour's Pacific Island Affairs spokesman Su'a William Sio said Pacific renters were often living in substandard houses that made their families sick.

"This is bad news for a proud people who want to own their own home and pass it onto the next generation," he said.

"For years our families have worked hard, with two or three jobs at a time, and it just seems their goal of owning their own home keeps slipping away from them."

Tiaki Housing Solutions, a volunteer-run service that helps Maori navigate the kainga whenua loan scheme to build on Maori land, says the government needs to make it easier for Maori to go through that process.

Spokeswoman Joesephine Nathan said many Maori gave up trying to build on Maori-owned land, because there were too many hoops to jump through.

She believed Maori should be able to build a house for $200,000 with no home loan deposit when building on Maori land, instead of having to pay unaffordable market rates.

If Maori were able to affordably build on Maori-owned land, it could encourage the return of traditional community-orientated living.

Ms Nathan is applying to Te Puni Kokiri for funding to deliver wider services.

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