Tainui housing purchase scheme hits a snag

A plan to get Tainui beneficiaries into home ownership has hit a major hurdle after the tribal executive, Te Arataura, refused to give the initiative the go-ahead.

Ricky Maipi, general manager of Te Riu o Waikato housing scheme, was negotiating with the tribe's executive to buy surplus Housing New Zealand stock offered to Tainui under a first right of refusal clause in their Treaty settlement.

The initiative would provide free home ownership workshops and support for Waikato-Tainui beneficiaries to purchase houses but is now in doubt after hitting a sticking point.

"The housing initiative has been stalled and this is through some technical issues around first right of refusal," Mr Maipi said.

If Tainui refuse the Government offer the properties will be put up for sale on the open market. It is an opportunity Mr Maipi does not want to see lost.

‘The biggest disadvantage is to the Tainui beneficiaries because they are the ones missing out," he said.

Mr Maipi and Te Riu o Waikato have responded to Te Arataura's decision and will meet them early next week in the hope of finding a solution.

"We are in negotiation with the tribe around the process and we are confident that we will be able to get through this so that the Tainui beneficiaries can take advantage of the first right and have home ownership," he said.

"We are looking forward to a meeting with the executive next week in order to overcome this final hurdle in the process."

Mr Maipi said home ownership for Tainui beneficiaries was a stepping stone to breaking the cycle of dependency and Te Arataura's stance put it in jeopardy.

"We have followed all of the steps as outlined in the process and we are still not clear why they don't support this initiative at this time. It is really mind-boggling."

The Arataura deputy chairman Hemi Rau said the hold up was related to the slowness of the first refusal process when dealing with the government rather than a lack of desire from Tainui to see the deals done. He was confident it could be sorted.

"I can understand Mr Maipi's frustration. Housing, along with employment is our biggest focus." 

Waikato Times