Te Tai Tonga candidates questioned on how to solve housing issue

By Maiki Sherman

The Labour Party has the largest support for the Māori electorate in Te Tai Tonga, according to Māori Television's Kōwhiri 14 poll results.

The poll shows that Rino Tirikatene (Labour) is leading by 48%, in second place is Māori Party's Ngaire Button on 17%.  Following on are Georgina Beyer for MANA and Dora Langsbury from the Green Party who are both at 9%.

Voters who are undecided are 8%, and those who are not voting or are choosing not to vote for any of the candidates are at 9%.  

In the party vote, Labour has the highest support on 43%.

Followed by National on 17%, with the Greens on 10%, the Māori Party on 16%, NZ First on 8%, and Internet-MANA on 6%.

According to our poll, the main issue for 88% of voters is housing.

In Christchurch, a town very much affected by the decisions made at Parliament, work is still being done here to rebuild the town following the devastating earthquake in 2011.  The Christchurch earthquakes have caused a number of problems for the families here, and at the forefront is housing.  

In the heart of the city, the hammers are in full swing and the work is being done.  However, residents say the problem is that it's too slow and the poorer outer suburbs have been forgotten.

Paul Mako suffered severely from the big earthquake.  He was at work that day when a co-worker died before his eyes.  It had a detrimental effect on his emotional well-being, which saw him living on the streets for quite a while.

Richard Yates was also forced to live on the streets and only recently moved back into his home.

Te Puāwaitanga is the largest Māori health organisation in the South Island.  It recently released a report into housing.

So what do the parties have to offer?

Some of the policies from Labour include; building 100,000 new homes, a capital gains tax, and building 10,000 new houses in Christchurch.

National proposes to allow all KiwiSaver contributions to be used for first-time home buyers excluding the $1000 kick-start, while doubling the grant amount for those purchasing new houses.  It will also build 700 new state houses in Christchurch.

The Greens also plan on introducing a capital gains tax, MANA is looking at a low-deposit home ownership scheme, and the Māori Party wants to support more Māori housing development initiatives. 

This is the property development project being undertaken by Ngāi Tahu who has sold almost 5000 lots across Christchurch.

So no matter how the votes go for the elections, the hope of iwi and support agencies is that the Government will work alongside them for the betterment of the residents here in the Tai Tonga electorate.