National | Housing

Nats housing spokesperson slams Ihumātao inaction

Hamilton West MP Tama Potaka flanked by National Party leader Christopher Luxon after winning the Hamilton West byelection last year. Photo / Mike Scott / NZME

National’s spokesperson for social housing, Tama Potaka, is slamming what he calls "all hui, no action" on the government’s plans for housing on land at Ihumātao.

The 32ha block was for four years the subject of protest by Māori who said the land should be returned to mana whenua.

In late 2020, the Government under Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern bought the land from developer Fletcher for $29.9 million, with an eye to develop social housing via the Land for Housing programme.

“More than two years have passed, and not one single house has been built,” Potaka said on Tuesday.

“Additionally, Te Puni Kōkiri has provided a further $400,000 to support the Rōpu Whakahaere or committee established to oversee the project.

“This is unbelievable and typical of a Labour government that wastes public money and cannot deliver. There are 27,000 families on the state housing list right now and the government is sitting on a $30 million site, doing nothing."

Protestors' concerns

Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson has conceded as far back as April 2022 there are issues with forming the Rōpu Whakahaere, and that the initial protestors called SOUL (Save Our Unique Landscape) are concerned about the way any development would go ahead, and who would have ultimate say in decisions about the whenua.

“They weren’t sure about the process in terms of the Crown and Kīngitanga and everything else,” Jackson told Newsroom last year.

"They had a bit of trepidation and given they fought the fight, I understand that… I’ve had a bit of kōrero with them myself as have some officials over the last few months.''

"It’s not going to happen overnight - Māori politics is a tough area,’’ he told the media site.

Potaka says Labour is failing to deliver on housing, beyond just Ihumātao.

“The government is spending more than $1 million a week on emergency housing, Kiwibuild has delivered just 2,000 of the promised 100,000 homes and New Zealand has gone from the biggest-ever rise in house prices to people now worrying about losing their homes due to rising interest rates," he said.

Nats to 'unlock more land'

Potaka says, if elected, National will reverse Labour moves to prevent landlords from deducting mortgage interest to lower their tax burden, and dump increases in the bright-line capital gains tax on investment properties, branding both a ‘war on landlords’.

The associate housing spokesperson says a National government would ‘"unlock more land for housing" and increase infrastructure investment, alongside funding community housing providers to build more houses, and increase build-to-rent, long-term housing.

“National will ensure everyday Kiwis can get mortgages by fixing the Consumer Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act, which has cut access to bank lending,” Potaka says.

“National is determined that New Zealand can once again be a place where hardworking, aspirational, everyday people can see a path to homeownership.”

“Where Labour has failed, National will deliver," he said.

Te Ao Māori News has asked Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson for comment.