Henare grandstands about govt spending on housing – but the public’s trust in Labour to deliver the goods is slipping

Latest from the Beehive

One new government initiative aims to give a boost to the work done at a wananga based in Whakatane, another gives a boost to Maori housing in nearby Opitiki.

The Minister for Children, Kelvin Davis, joined with big-wigs at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi for the announcement of the establishment of the Tā Harawira Gardiner Endowed Chair and the Centre for the Child

Further along the road,  the Associate Minister of Housing (Māori Housing), Peeni Henare, had travelled to Opitiki for …

Well, it looks he was among the guests at a house-warming.

“It’s fantastic to be here in Ōpōtiki alongside the iwi Whakatōhea supported by the Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board to celebrate the opening of this new home and the whānau moving into it,” Peeni Henare said.

The new home is one of five financed with support from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, which suggests there will be five house-warming opportunities for ministerial grandstanding and five opportunities for Henare to issue press statements like this one.

The government is collaborating with Maori tribes to deliver more homes to local families where supply is an issue.

Twenty-three homes are to be developed in Ōpōtiki and Tairāwhiti.

In his press statement, Henare highlighted the big bucks being channelled into housing:

  • $350 million Māori Infrastructure Fund to enable at least 2,700 houses (at least 1000 of  these will be homes delivered through Whai Kāinga Whai Oranga investment.)
  • $380 million for Māori housing in Budget 2021 to build on the MAIHI work the government has started (MAIHI is the acronym for Māori and Iwi Housing Innovation).
  • Housing speculation is being curbed with a ban on foreign buyers and the removal of tax advantages for property speculators.
  • Since November the government has delivered an extra 8,516 public housing homes, with 6,751 being new builds. An extra 2,867 Transitional homes have also been added in this time.
  • Henare said the government is investing more than any government has done since the 1970’s on infrastructure like pipes and roads to get more housing built.
  • The $3.8 billion Housing Acceleration Fund for infrastructure will invest in increasing the pace and scale of new, affordable housing, “including for Māori”.   Would Maori have thought they were barred from benefitting, if Henare had not reassured them they were included?
  • $2 billion in extra borrowing for Kāinga Ora for strategic land purchases for housing.
  • Red tape is being cut to boost housing supply and enable more medium density housing – allowing people to build up to three homes of up to three storeys on most sites without the need for a resource consent.

With that last item, Henare didn’t mention the controversy that has been generated.

Radio NZ tells us householders face losing over a billion dollars worth of sunlight and views under the radical housing intensification law changes Henare was championing.

cost-benefit analysis done by PwC for the government puts a price tag on changes to sunlight and views under the housing intensification bill, which allows new homes of three-storeys to be built almost up to the fenceline.

Many planners are panning it.

Meanwhile the latest Ipsos New Zealand Issues Monitor research shows housing is the top issue facing New Zealanders, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and Labour is the most trusted party to solve it – but its support is dropping. 

While Labour continues to be perceived as the party most capable of handling issues Kiwis are concerned about, its lead has been falling through 2021.

In November 2020, 47 per cent of Kiwis believed Labour was the most capable to manage the housing crisis, according to Ipsos, but by October 2021 it dropped to 32 per cent, compared to National on 23 per cent.

On the tertiary education front, Kelvin  Davis travelled put on his Minister of Children hat to welcome the announcement of a research centre dedicated to improving the lives and wellbeing of young people,  which is to be established within Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiarangi.

The wānanga and the Public Service Commission have jointly invested in the endowment of the chair and centre and in committing

“… to action research for better futures for all our tamariki, as well as building a stronger Aotearoa New Zealand”.

This is to honour Gardiner’s 58 years of public service and  his leadership across the public sector, and for his contributions during some of the country’s most sensitive challenges in the Crown and Iwi relationship sphere.

The Gardiner Chair and Centre are the first of a larger institute that Awanuiārangi will establish in Wellington,

“… to contribute to the increasing recognition of the value of Crown-Māori relationships and the quality and distinctiveness this brings to the public sector of Aotearoa New Zealand.”

In his statement on the initiative, Davis said the Gardiner Centre for the Child will share the same aims that Gardiner is passionate about and its work will explore how resources and decision-making can be shared with whānau, hapū, iwi and communities to encourage more community-driven approaches that benefit children.

Gardiner, a former Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki, has played a major role in guiding the Ministry towards the transformational change needed to improve the childcare and protection system.

During his tenure he challenged the Ministry to contribute to changes that see a major shift in decision-making and resources at a local level including:

  • building public trust and confidence in Oranga Tamariki
  • responding to the four reviews of Oranga Tamariki, including the Waitangi Tribunal report and the Ministerial Advisory Board Report, that have called for Oranga Tamariki to improve policies and practice and strengthen cultural competency
  • exploring how resources and decision-making can be shared with whānau, hapū, iwi and communities to enable more localised and community-driven approaches.

Latest from the Beehive

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A research centre dedicated to improving the lives and wellbeing of tamariki is to be established within Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiarangi in recognition of Tā Wira Gardiner’s contributions to society.

Government funding supports new iwi led housing in Ōpōtiki

Seeing another deserving whānau move into a warm dry home is a further positive step forward for this Government’s Housing strategy, says Associate Minister of Housing (Māori Housing) Peeni Henare.

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