Harawira calls for judicial recount , Bennett says iwi should play bigger role in housing market

By Ripeka Timutimu

MANA leader and former Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira has applied for a judicial recount of the results in the Northern Māori electorate.  In a statement released today, a MANA representative said there are concerns with special votes that weren't counted.

Hone says there are some votes that have been missed due to those persons not being enrolled.  At the moment, there are 739 votes between Hone and the winner of the seat, Kelvin Davis, but Hone says it's not about winning, instead it's about the treatment of voters in Te Tai Tokerau.

There was a definite 'can-do' attitude in the National caucus today.

In fact, the new Minister of Social Housing, Paula Bennett is already packing a punch, saying iwi should step up and play a bigger role in the housing market as the Government looks to get rid of state houses around the country.

While she's won back her house, other state house tenants won't be as lucky.

Bennett says, “We can’t have people in a house for life, we need to be freeing them up for those that need them most.”

National has made no secret of wanting to get rid of the Housing New Zealand stock, and want iwi to step up and invest in social housing.

“We have more demand than we have supply so we are looking at different options, and iwi are certainly one of them,” says Bennett.

Terry Puketapu of Te Rūnanga o Taranaki Whānui, says social housing isn't an option for them, but instead are looking at a papakāinga development to be built in Wainuiōmata.

Plans to build on an old school site owned by the rūnanga could see 40-50 houses for low-income families, costing around $250,000 each.

“The home ownership factor as we know, depends on whether you can raise a deposit or not, and we think that we can make that easier,” says Mr Puketapu.

He is still unsure if the plans will go ahead, but one thing he's sure of, is that the Government needs to be opening doors to homes, instead of shutting them down.