10 Apr 2012

Few take up Maori home loan scheme

6:27 am on 10 April 2012

A scheme set up to help Maori own their own home on ancestral whenua (land) has made just four loans in two years.

Maori land has multiple owners, so can't be sold, which means banks can't meet their standard requirements for mortgage security.

To address the problem, the Crown stepped in as a guarantor of Kainga Whenua loans, which are available through a partnership between Housing New Zealand and Kiwibank.

However, figures from Housing New Zealand show only four loans have been issued - with a total value of $650,440.

The Chief Advisor Maori for the corporation, Tamati Olsen, says it's still early days for the product and it's a positive step in the right direction.

Mr Olsen says two further loans have been approved, but have yet to go through the legal process.

Last September, the Auditor-General found problems with the scheme.

It said as the programme is currently designed, most people who can afford the loan cannot get it and most people who can get the loan cannot afford it.

When Kainga Whenua loans were launched, Housing Minister Phil Heatley said demand for the product was likely to be modest.