17 Jun 2020

Hopes fast-tracked housing project will 'streamline Māori housing'

1:45 pm on 17 June 2020

Kaitāia families living in cowsheds and buses could be housed two years sooner with a fast-tracked consenting process, a Māori housing trust says.

A state house with dark clouds above it

(File image). Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The National Papakāinga Network, which covers six iwi, hapū and whānau housing projects, is one of the 11 projects included in the Covid-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Bill.

One of them, He Korowai Trust in Kaitāia, relocates and refurbishes old state houses, with 24 homes set to be done up under the fast-tracked legislation process.

Its chief executive, Ricky Houghton, said there was huge demand for housing in the Northland town.

"People are living in cow sheds, buses, lean-tos, makeshift housing... I have at least 40 single people, and nine families on my waitlist hoping that tomorrow they will have an improved quality of life through secure housing."

Houghton is "excited" the bill will mean they can get those whānau into warm, affordable homes at least two years earlier.

He was confident the fast-tracked Resource Management Act (RMA) process would not be detrimental to iwi and their land interests.

"It doesn't divert the ownership or the integrity of any process whatsoever, in fact if anything, it enhances and protects Māori land and process [and] does that in a way that isn't currently possible," he said.

"I think these changes are going to streamline Māori housing in a way that just was not possible pre-Covid."

The six projects were put forward by Te Puni Kōkiri in order to give whānau, hapū and iwi housing projects further assistance getting through the RMA process.

The ministry said the proposals were among the first papakāinga projects to expedite the RMA process, which often created barriers for Māori whānau to develop their papakāinga.

The other five papakāinga projects include:

  • 14 affordable rental homes at Pt Chevalier to be built by Te Māhurehure Cultural Marae society
  • 60 sections, including 25 homes, as part of a Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa-led subdivision in Waitara
  • 10 minimum six-homestar rated dwellings in Rāpaki, Christchurch, built by Te Mahi Korowai Trust
  • Five dwellings in the Chatham Islands built by the Chatham Islands Housing Partnership Trust
  • An integrated papakāinga in Raglan with six dwellings, including four rental homes, built by Rakaunui 1B Ahuwhenua Trust

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