Debt and housing major concerns for Māori

By Mānia Clarke

A new survey shows that financial debt and insecurity alongside housing affordability and homelessness are the two main concerns for Māori.

Te Puea Marae frontman Hurimoana Dennis isn't surprised and says these are the same issues affecting whānau they help through their homelessness programme.

Dennis says finances and housing are still the biggest worries for whānau.

“We are still sadden by the extent of poverty,” he says.

“I see the same issues because these are the same concerns facing the majority of families who come here for help.”

The survey by National Māori Authority Ngā Ngaru surveyed 800 Māori through its maorieverywhere.com database, with 781 responding.

“It's not just about can't afford a house, can't afford to get a mortgage, can't afford mortgage payments,” says Chair Matthew Tutaki, “it's about the rental market, it's about getting into a rental property that's affordable.”

The state of rivers and lakes, land concerns, the number of Maori children in State Care, Maori prison rates, and equally the rising suicide rate and mental health system are the remaining five issues.

Dennis says 2019 is vital that Labour led-government policies are addressing these.

“I see and hear about the inquiries into suicide, government policies and mental health. Next year is important for the government and Māori to fix these,” he says.

“It’s the year to leave the talk and just do it.”

“That gives us the ability to go to Phil Twyford and say hey look, this is the feedback that we've had,” says Tukaki.

“It's quite a significant in fact it is the primary significant issue for a lot of our people. And we want to have a conversation with you at the table about what opening up the rental market might look like.”

National Māori Authority Ngā Ngaru will send the report ahead of meeting with politicians and government heads in the New Year, to discuss solutions.