Māori left in limbo after Labour claims high number of foreign homebuyer trends in Auckland

By Harata Brown

Although many houses up for sale in Auckland say "Sold", who are they being sold to?

The Labour Party claims that about 40% of houses on the Auckland market have been sold to buyers with Chinese surnames.

Labour’s Peeni Henare who is also the Member of Parliament for Tamaki Makaurau, says that it is not a new thing that Māori are not largely involved in buying homes.

Henare says, “The main concern for me is that there needs to be more clarity around how iwi and the Government work towards making that option available to Māori.”

The figures leaked to the Labour Party are said to come from an unknown real estate firm who made over 45% of house sales in the Auckland region from February to April this year, but Acting Minister of Housing, Steven Joyce says the information is unreliable. 

“I know some Chinese immigrants who may end up with the name "Smith" when they married the family, and I know plenty of people with Chinese sounding names who have been Kiwis for 50-60 years.  I think the whole thing is a ropey analysis,” says Joyce. 

The same figures obtained by Te Kāea show that most buyers were European or Asian. 

The number of homebuyers who claim Maori descent were just over 3 %

The Tāmaki Makaurau MP says the data indicates that home ownership for Māori will continue to be unaffordable to Māori, including middle-class Māori.

The Tamaki Collective met with Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment representatives in East Tāmaki on Friday and reached an agreement in relation to their Right of First Refusal (RFR) around housing developments in Auckland.  It is understood that Ngāti Whatua Ōrākei, Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua are not party to the new agreement.

“So we need to know exactly what is it that iwi have in place with the Government because iwi do not have exclusive rights.  Furthermore, I want to see iwi and the Government working thoroughly through the finer details,” says Henare.  

Housing Minister Joyce says although the details on the new agreement are unknown, the Minister will have to address the issues directly when he returns from leave.

“But Ngāti Whātua have the right to go to court at any stage to contest their rights, but certainly the Crown hopes to work proactively and effectively with Auckland iwi,” says Joyce.  

As Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei continue to take legal action to clarify the extent of RFR, Henare says that Māori are left in limbo as to what their involvement is with the Crown in relation to housing developments.