Revealed: How Kiwibuild failed Māori and Pasifika

Source: Q and A

New statistics have revealed the failure of KiwiBuild to increase home ownership rates for Māori and Pasifika New Zealanders.

Minister Megan Woods acknowledged KiwiBuild “isn’t shifting the dial enough when it comes to Māori and Pasifika families”.

Figures released to Q+A with Jack Tame under the Official Information Act show just 4.8% of KiwiBuild buyers who gave their ethnicity on their application forms are Māori, and 4.4% are Pasifika.

These figures are well below the ethnicity breakdown of the general population, which is 16.5% Māori, and 8% Pasifika.

Eleven percent of KiwiBuild buyers chose not to list their ethnicity.

The numbers cut against one of the Government’s stated goals with KiwiBuild – to lift home ownership rates for under served communities.

As then-minister Phil Twyford put it in 2018, “we’re determined to make sure Māori whānau get the benefits of the KiwiBuild home ownership programme".

“Like Pasifika communities, Māori have been hammered by the housing crisis, and we’ve seen Māori home ownership drop to half the rate of the general population.”

In total, 47% of KiwiBuild buyers who gave an ethnicity are Pākehā or New Zealand Europeans, compared to being about 70% of the general population.

Asian New Zealanders, including Chinese, Indian and Korean communities, purchased 39% of KiwiBuild homes, compared to being about 15% of the general population.

In response to these figures, current minister Megan Woods acknowledged KiwiBuild “isn’t shifting the dial enough when it comes to Māori and Pasifika families”.

Woods pointed to other policies in this area, saying “we’re helping whānau and hapu to create communities and build on whenua Māori, while Pasifika and Māori are two of the three priority groups of our $400 million Progressive Home Ownership Fund”.

But Māori urbanist and architect Jade Kake said the figures showed a “systemic failure” to raise Māori home ownership rates, “both through the KiwiBuild programme and across the board”.

“Māori are on lower incomes overall, and so therefore these policies or these properties are less accessible to Māori overall,” said Kake.

She said it was another example of policies designed around a Pākehā cultural framework being unsuitable for Māori whānau.

“It’s repeatedly been demonstrated that mainstreaming doesn’t work for Māori. If it’s mainstream for everyone but under Pākehā cultural norms, and taking into account things like Pākehā incomes and ability to purchase homes, then of course you’re setting yourself up for failure.”

While the original targets for KiwiBuild have been dropped, homes are still being built and sold under the programme.

A development in Silverdale, which at rush hour can be more than an hour’s drive north of Auckland, has properties for sale at a range of prices, starting from $600,000.

At the current rate of progress, the original target of 100,000 KiwiBuild homes will be reached around the year 2300.

This story was updated on 1 July 2022. The original story included imagery of a development in Long Bay – this development is not part of the KiwiBuild programme.