Whānau wants easier access to KiwiSaver accounts

By Te Ao - Māori News

Withdrawals from KiwiSaver to help buy a first home is not always easy but building on papakainga can be even harder.

An iwi initiative for transitional housing in Te Tai Tokerau would like the government to make the process easier but, as members of one whānau claims, they are unable to access to the funds they have saved to put a roof over their heads.

But they say their bank, ASB Bank, has also declined to lend on Māori land.

ASB Bank says first home buyer withdrawals are only granted for the purchase of an 'estate in land.' Where a member already owns land (either through inheritance/gift or purchase) a withdrawal cannot be granted to build a dwelling on the land. If a member doesn't already own/hasn't previously owned an estate in land, they could complete a withdrawal to buy a piece of land to build a dwelling on but they could not withdraw to purchase/build the dwelling itself. The bank notes that these rules are set by the government, not the bank.