Monday, January 26, 2009

Maori land a possibility for affordable housing, maybe not...

The Governments ideas:

Housing Minister Heatley says affordable housing could be improved if rules limiting house building on Maori land changed.

Plans to free up the restrictions on building on Maori land is one Government initiative to make housing more affordable.

Housing Minister Phil Heatley says big steps are being taken to help the many thousands of New Zealanders who cannot afford new homes. They include streamlining the Resource Management and Building Acts to cut back bureaucracy and ultimately reduce house prices.

Mr Heatley says the recent property cycle has been so extreme, it suggests there are fundamental problems with how the market is operating, particularly around land. He says breaking down barriers to building on communally-owned land will be one of the priorities.

Mr Heatley says often multiple-owned Maori land is rurally zoned, so no matter how large the chunk of land is there can only be a couple of houses on it.

He says he is very conscious of the plight of existing home owners and investors who have seen the value of their properties diminish in recent months, citing lower interest rates and impending tax cuts as factors that would soften the blow.

A 2009 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey showed New Zealand has the second most unaffordable housing, behind Australia. The survey took place across 265 markets in six countries.

The reality:

Even considering this, most Maori land is rurally based while housing needs are urban based. Could be a problem in balancing the two. I don't think Maori owners would want their land tied up for a century or more without real returns or other options down the track. For a century Maori have had little or no control over their land. This option would in fact take their land away permanently whether it was leasehold or sold to householders.


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