Kaumātua concerned KiwiBuild homes unaffordable

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Waikato Māori elders are concerned that the new Kiwibuild homes to be built in Te Kauwhata are still out of reach for many Māori.

“The affluent are able to buy these homes, those in high-paying positions, they can,” says elder Pat Kingi of Ngāti Naho, Ngāti Pou, Ngāti Whāwhākia, “But those like us can't. We can't afford it because of the high price.”

“I can't see our people getting a fair chance at getting into these homes realistically,” says Waikare Marae chair Robert Tukiri.

1,600 new homes will be built at the Lakeside Development, of which 175 will be KiwiBuild.

The first ten two-bedroom KiwiBuild homes along with 39 other homes for market will be balloted from next week onwards, with a price tag of $480,000.

“KiwiBuild only suits the middle class, it doesn't suit our people who are at the bottom of the ladder,” says Tukiri.

“I'd like to see anyone born and bred in this area to be able to stay in the area.”

Twyford has indicated that the government is working on a shared equity programme to support Māori who do not meet KiwiBuild criteria, however Māori are unlikely to be able to utilise the scheme for a few more years.