Politics | Māori

Concerns for most vulnerable following scathing Kāinga Ora report

With Kāinga Ora drowning in debt, Hurimoana Dennis from Te Puea Marae in South Auckland is concerned for whānau.

A social housing advocate is worried that Kāinga Ora’s goal of meeting housing needs will run second to reducing debt.

It follows a review of the state housing agency by former prime minister Sir Bill English. His report, revealed yesterday by Housing Minister Chris Bishop, found the social housing system was not sustainable and that Kāinga Ora has enormous debts running into billions of dollars - and rising.

According to the report, Kāinga Ora’s level of debt has grown from $2.7b in 2018 to $12.3b in June 2023 and will increase to $23b by 2028.

Despite this, the level of equity in the housing stock it owns will still be three times greater than its total debt.

The cabinet has approved some of the recommendations from the report:

  • Coordinate contractual arrangements across Kāinga Ora and community housing providers (CHPs);
  • ‘Refresh’ the Kainga Ora board;
  • Simplify direction to the agency; and
  • The Housing Minister will set an expectation that the Kāinga Ora board will develop a credible and detailed plan to improve financial performance and eliminate losses.

Te Puea Marae chair Hurimoana Dennis says he understands that the current model is unsustainable.

“I acknowledge that there is big money and Kāinga Ora is currently running at a deficit, it’s just not sustainable. So what they are doing in pulling that stuff back and getting more accountability and structure around that and stuff, pai noa tēna.”

“Kāinga Ora has three name changes, Housing Corporation being one, so what? Are we going to get another name change? While the name change might not mean much to people, it also means a change in the āhua and service delivery direction.”