Shameful for Māori Party to vote for state house sell-off

19 February 2016                                                                                                                MEDIA STATEMENT

The Māori Party’s decision last night to vote with National in support of a law which could see the privatisation of billions of dollars’ worth of state houses is a shameful chapter for a Party which claims to be an ‘independent voice’ for Māori, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.

“The passing of the Social Housing Reform (Transaction Mandate) Bill gives two Government Ministers unprecedented powers to sell off state housing without consulting with the Housing New Zealand (HNZ) board or considering their social objectives.

“The Māori Party have tried to justify their support of this law by saying Māori organisations will purchase the houses, but there are absolutely no guarantees whatsoever that Iwi will be in the running when Paula Bennett and Bill English begin flogging off state houses; it’s naïve of the Māori Party to think otherwise.

“Bestowing unprecedented powers on two National Government Ministers is not tino rangatiratanga.

“The housing situation for Māori is precarious. Over a third of all severely housing deprived people are Māori, and over a third of all state houses are occupied by Māori tenants.

“There is a shortage of state housing in this country and this legislation will do nothing to improve the quality or availability of housing to those who desperately need it.

“This is a shameful day in our political history, for this Government and the political parties who supported it. Our people will not forget it,” says Meka Whaitiri.

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