29 Jan 2015

Emergency housing 'needs strengthening'

7:26 am on 29 January 2015

The Maori Party is not confident the Prime Minister's social housing announcement will deal with the immediate needs for the homeless and those living in substandard condition.

In his first major speech of the year, John Key yesterday outlined plans including making more use of community housing providers, which include iwi, by selling state houses.

A cash injection of $500,000 would be given to the emergency housing sector.

Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox said that was just a drop in the ocean and greater investment was necessary to have an impact on the immediate need.

Ms Fox said whanau Maori had suffered the most during the economic recession, so she expected the Government to continue supporting the Maori Housing Strategy.

The strategy was released by former co-leader Tariana Turia last year and its core aim was to increase and improve housing for Maori.

Community Housing

A Maori Housing advocacy group, meanwhile, said an increase in the number of income-related rent subsidies, from 62,000 to 65,000, was encouraging but too timid.

Te Matapihi chair Rau Hoskins said it was good that Mr Key had addressed social housing, but the increase in subsidies did not appear enough compared to actual need.

He said the extra 3000 rent subsidies would be taken up with state-house transfers to iwi and community housing providers, and more would be needed by the end of the year.

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