Part 1: Introduction

Government planning and support for housing on Māori land. Ngā whakatakotoranga kaupapa me te tautoko a te Kāwanatanga ki te hanga whare i runga i te whenua Māori.

Wāhanga Tuatahi – Te Whakatuwheratanga

In Part 1, we discuss:

Why we carried out our audit

We carried out a performance audit of government support for, and regulation of, affordable housing on Māori land because:

  • Māori as a group experience disproportionately poorer housing situations compared with the rest of the population;
  • some Māori landowners have aspirations to build on their land;
  • Māori land can provide affordable housing, particularly near some urban areas;
  • there is a long history of government assistance with mixed success;
  • support for Māori housing is complex and involves multiple agencies working together; and
  • we could provide a cross-sector perspective on how to improve effectiveness.

The audited entities and the activities we audited

We examined the work of various public entities, including Housing New Zealand Corporation (HNZC), Te Puni Kōkiri1 (TPK), and local authorities. We considered the work of the Māori Land Court but not its decisions or decision-making processes. We also met with a range of other organisations, including the Māori Trustee. Part 4 explains the roles of these organisations further.

Figure 1 sets out the relevant performance objectives of the agencies that have funding programmes for housing on Māori land.

Figure 1
Performance objectives of agencies that have funding programmes for housing on Māori land

Agency Māori housing outcome Activities Performance measures
Housing New Zealand Corporation "New Zealanders in need are helped along their pathway towards housing independence." "Use [Housing Innovation Fund] (Māori Demonstration Partnership) and Kāinga Whenua loans for housing on multiple-owned Māori land." 2009/10 2010/11
"The first five [Māori Demonstration Partnerships] will be initiated by June 2009 … 5-15 substantial grants to Māori organisations approved." "Increase over a baseline to be established in 2010/11."
"The Crown's resources are managed in the most efficient and effective manner – leveraging private sector investment." Develop new housing supply initiatives with other partners (Māori and iwi, community groups, investors, local authorities, and third party providers). Housing Partnerships team required to achieve 45% leverage – $1 of private money spent on housing for every 45 cents of public money spent on capital expenditure for [Māori Demonstration Partnership].
Te Puni Kōkiri Increased Māori home ownership is a Whānau Ora indicator and contributes to the outcome of "enhanced levels of economic and social prosperity for Whānau and Māori". Iwi Housing Support (through [Special Housing Action Zones]; $456,000 in 2010/11).

Source: Housing New Zealand Corporation's and Te Puni Kōkiri ‘s most recent statements of intent.

The scope of our audit

We looked at whether the Government's support for, and regulation of, housing developments on Māori land was effective and efficient. We did not look at the work that Māori trusts and individuals must do to get the agreement of multiple shareholders before building on multiply-owned Māori land, as these are private matters. Our audit was structured around four main audit criteria:

  • Are programmes well designed?
  • Are programmes implemented effectively and is development made as easy as possible?
  • Is planning appropriate and supportive?
  • Can the costs of building houses on Māori land be reduced?

We did not audit the processes or decisions of the Māori Land Court, because our role is to examine the effectiveness and efficiency of government agencies and not the courts.

How we carried out our audit

To examine the effectiveness of government support of, and regulation for, housing on Māori land, we carried out fieldwork in four regions. These were:

  • Te Tai Tokerau (Northland);
  • Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland);
  • Tauranga Moana – Mataatua (Bay of Plenty); and
  • Ōtautahi and Waimakariri (Canterbury).

We selected these regions because each has different circumstances, challenges, and issues. We were also aware that the agencies in each of these regions had taken different approaches to housing on Māori land.

In each region, we:

  • examined the planning and regulatory function of local authorities;
  • used a consistent interview schedule to interview regional staff in the public entities that are directly involved in housing on Māori land: HNZC, the Māori Land Court, and TPK;
  • carried out in-depth interviews with a sample of Māori organisations and individuals (at least five in each region), ranging from large iwi r nanga to individuals who have or are building houses on Māori land;
  • interviewed a range of other organisations involved in Māori housing, including building firms with experience of Māori housing projects and banking consultants from Kiwibank Limited (Kiwibank); and
  • collected and reviewed regional documents and research on Māori housing.

The quotes that appear throughout this report have come from the interviews that we carried out.

Nationally, we examined the work of the main government departments responsible for delivering Crown programmes for housing on Māori land. We also talked to other interested parties, principally the Department for Building and Housing. Our examination included:

  • reviewing evaluations and assessments of previous and current programmes;
  • interviewing programme directors and senior management of the main entities;
  • analysing the costs of implementing programmes and initiatives; and
  • examining the lending criteria for loan schemes available for building on Māori land and comparing these with household income statistics.

Scenarios used in this report

In Parts 4, 5, and 6, we use three scenarios to describe the effect that the current support for, and regulation of, housing on Māori land has on individuals and Māori organisations. We chose these scenarios because they illustrate the experience that groups with different aspirations and size will have. The scenarios are:

  • An individual or whānau who has shares in Māori land and wants to build or move a single house on to part of the land. The individual or whānau has a low income and wants to apply for a Kāinga Whenua loan.
  • A small ahu whenua trust2 that plans to build a small number of houses on its land. The trust has little cash and needs voluntary work to help with administration.
  • A larger Māori trust or iwi governance organisation that has plans to build housing for its beneficiaries. This iwi governance organisation does not own land but has beneficiaries who do.

1: The Ministry of Māori Development.

2: An ahu whenua trust is set up to "promote and facilitate the use and administration of the land in the interests of the persons beneficially entitled to the land." The land, money, and other assets of an ahu whenua trust are held in trust for the owners entitled to the land, in proportion to their interest in the land. For more information, see section 215 of Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993.

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