Ikaroa-Rāwhiti candidates on housing

By Taiha Molyneux

The claws came out in the Ikaroa Rāwhiti segment of Election Aotearoa's debate when the issue of housing and homelessness was raised with the candidates. 

While all the candidates agreed that this is a major focus for them and their parties, how to combat the problem efficiently seemed to be a point of contention.

Meka Whaitiri has promised Labour will build 100,000 new affordable homes and will boost the supply and number of state houses available.

Whaitiri says, "We are going to rebuild the state houses, the ones that this National Government supported by the Māori Party sold off at a thousand a year until we've got our… until we've got our stock back up."

Marama Fox firmly disagreed claiming that Housing New Zealand was not providing long-term solutions for troubled families. She believes the answer lies in establishing more social housing providers.

Fox says, "We sold state houses to who? To social housing providers not to nobody because they do a better job than Housing New Zealand who are the biggest slum lords in this nation."

Green Party candidate Elizabeth Kerekere highlighted that there are still issues with social housing providers particularly when it came to discrimination.

Kerekere says, "What we do know is a lot of the social housing providers have certain prejudice that play out and some of them still will not give their houses to Māori and Pacific Island people. They certainly will not be giving them to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer people who struggle and who figure disproportionately and ridiculously in those homeless figures."

While all the candidates were in full agreement on housing issues, it seemed the pathways to eradicate the issue were viewed differently.

Kerekere says, "Our policies are much closer to Labour in this regard about rolling out Housing First, building state houses..."

Fox says, "Housing First is my policy. I'm sorry Housing First is my policy that I bought to this National Government and they are spending $9 million on it now so don't sit there and think that I don't do anything for housing and for our homeless. I know what that looks like, I have 19 people living in my house right now."