24 Sep 2015

Māori MPs back Northland housing trust

2:04 pm on 24 September 2015

The Māori Party and the MP for Te Tai Tokerau, Labour's Kelvin Davis, are calling for action to help a Far North trust at risk of being penalised for helping whānau own their own homes.

Ricky Houghton

He Korowai Trust manager Ricky Houghton in front of the affordable housing project, Whare Ora. Photo: RNZ/Lois Williams

Nine families were expecting to move into renovated state houses in Kaitaia next month, in a home ownership project run by He Korowai Trust.

Labour MP , Kelvin Davis.

Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

But the plan is in limbo while the trust waits for the Charities Commission to decide if it can sell the homes and still retain its registration as a charity.

The commission expects to have an answer for the trust and other social housing providers by Christmas.

Mr Davis said that was unacceptable - especially when the government itself had put money into the scheme.

"If the government can go into urgency to change the flag rules, they can go into urgency to change the rules around this," he said.

"These people who were expecting to move into their new houses in Labour Weekend, their dreams and their aspirations are having to be put on hold. It must be very stressful for them. All because of a government that just hasn't got themselves organised."

Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox, who is also calling for a law change, said rules were stupid if they meant the trust risked being penalised for doing something good.

Ms Fox said the party was working to bring all parties into the same room to overcome the problem.

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