28 May 2014

Call to relax home lending restrictions

9:07 am on 28 May 2014

Auckland mayor Len Brown is calling for the Reserve Bank to relax mortgage-lending rules to help Pacific people, in particular, buy their own homes.

A new report by the Salvation Army said home ownership for Pasifika has risen by just 3 percent in the past decade.

High rents and housing prices in Auckland are effectively excluding Pasifika from owning their own homes, the report said.

Reserve Bank building.

Photo: RNZ

Mr Brown said the figures are damning and it is time to lift the restrictions on lending to first-home buyers with a deposit of 20 percent or less.

He said it will help first-home buyers, including Pasifika families, into Auckland's housing market.

And an Auckland youth leader believes young pacific people in South Auckland are losing hope.

Chair of Auckland Council's youth advisory panel, Flora Apulu, said the high rates of young Pacific people who are not in education or jobs are worrying.

She said she knows many who are trying their best to get training and jobs but the opportunities are not there.

She's seen a rise in violent crime, especially among Pasifika girls, reflecting the pressures inside Pasifika families where both mum and dad are out of work.

Ms Apulu said Pasifika communities need to rally to give their young people hope, and politicians should do more to provide better training and jobs.

Len Brown said the council's focused on boosting tourism because the hospitality industry offers good chances of jobs for Pasifika and other young people.

Mr Brown said the council is a small player and the big challenge to lift Pasifika communities lies at the door of the government which controls budgets for health, education and housing.