'Critical' Porirua locals get promise they won't be moved out

By Te Ao with MOANA
Moana Maniapoto with Tāmaki MP Simon O'Connor, National spokesperson for Social Housing.  Photo/File.

It is "critical" that the project team involved in the regeneration of Porirua promises locals they will not be moved out, says the MP whose Tāmaki electorate has undergone major transformation in Auckland.

Simon O'Connor, National's spokesperson for Social Housing and the MP for Tāmaki, told Te Ao with Moana that such a commitment was made to the Tāmaki residents of Glen Innes, Point England and Panmure when the country's largest urban transformation project was begun there.

“Certainly, in Tāmaki they’ve got, and I always get the phrase wrong, it’s something like the Tāmaki Promise or Tāmaki Guarantee that if you are of that community you’re not going to be moved out.” 

The MP who describes Glen Innes, with its large numbers of Pacific Island and Māori families, as "one of the most wonderful, vibrant, communities" says it is vital that the Porirua community is celebrated and locals there receive a guarantee that they won't be forced out.

“I think that’s quite critical actually for maintaining sort of the community itself.”

O'Connor, who acknowledges the “really tumultuous and tough times" the Tāmaki community went through as transformation was undertaken there, says the biggest concern the Porirua community is likely going through right now is uncertainty.

“It’ll be uncertainty. It’ll be what are these new homes? What's it going to mean for me and my family? What’s it going to mean for my wider community? Am I still going to have my neighbours around? What’s it going to be for my school?"

The opposition social housing spokesperson says this community worry puts an onus on the regeneration team to listen to the people.

"Those involved with the project first and foremost need to get on the ground and listen to people and then they've got to get on and action that. In other words, don't have a huge delay."

The Porirua community is calling on the project team to adopt the Porirua Promise, which includes an undertaking that "every person who lives in Porirua now will be able to stay in Porirua." 

Te Ao with Moana invited the Associate Minister of Housing and local Porirua MP Kris Faafoi to join us on the programme to give his reassurances to the people of Porirua that their concerns are being addressed. Mr Faafoi, whose particular responsibility is social housing, declined.