29 Mar 2011

Iwi keen to be housing providers

8:16 pm on 29 March 2011

The chief executive of Te Runanga o Ngati Awa says that if the Government is serious about radically increasing the stock of social housing, it needs to look at ways for iwi to get involved.

Jeremy Gardiner denies a report that Ngati Awa wants to buy Whakatane's state houses.

He told Waatea News, however, that Housing Minister Phil Heatley's recent call for a third sector to help provide social and affordable housing fits in with discussions among iwi who are considering becoming housing providers.

But if the Government is really serious, he says, it will have to look at valuing state housing other than by its book value.

Mr Gardiner says the 400 state houses in Whakatane are valued at $80 million, but based on rental returns they are worth just a quarter of that.