State housing to become ‘our Maori village’

If “kainga” means “Maori village” and “ora” means “our”, renaming state housing as “our Maori village”, as the Kainga Ora–Homes and Communities Bill intends, appears an accurate name for housing that is largely occupied by Maori families.

Apparently, 35 percent of state house tenants identify as Maori, 27 percent as Pacific peoples, and 36 percent as European, according to the 2017 Housing New Zealand annual report.

However, there is more to the Kainga Ora–Homes and Communities Bill than a new name in “the language”. According to the bill’s explanatory note, the new entity will have two key roles, being a public housing landlord, and leading and co-ordinating urban development projects.

To bring this about, the bill:

  • disestablishes the Housing New Zealand Corporation,
  • puts Housing New Zealand’s functions and assets into Kainga Ora–Homes and Communities,
  • repeals the Housing Corporation Act 1974,
  • puts some of the functions and assets related to KiwiBuild that currently sit in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development into Kainga Ora–Homes and Communities.

The bill recognises Maori interests by:

  • giving the board a duty to uphold the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles, to understand and apply Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993, and to engage with Maori and understand Maori perspectives,
  • requiring understanding and support of Maori aspirations relating to urban development,
  • requiring identification and protection of Maori interests and have early and meaningful engagement with Maori, and offer Maori opportunities to participate in urban development,
  • preventing Kainga Ora–Homes and Communities from using Housing New Zealand’s exemptions in Treaty settlement legislation to override Rights of First Refusal.

There you have it. The Treaty and its principles will be front and centre of state housing, the development and management of which will focus on Maori interests and aspirations, while the rights to redevelop state house assets will be overtaken by the rights of first refusal by Treaty settlement entities to profit from any redevelopments.

One curious aspect of this bill is ironic. While the third “treaty principle” on Justice Cooke’s original principles list is clear that unreasonable restrictions on the right of a duly elected government to follow its chosen policy are off limits, the prioritising of iwi over government on the rights of first refusal on surplus state housing assets does just that --  imposes an unreasonable restriction on the government.

The other curious aspect is that there has not been a squeak from Labour’s Maori caucus about the obvious cultural appropriation that appears in the virtue-signalling new name. Does this mean that the Maori caucus supports the white-liberal fetish of adopting Maori names to make an entity look correct?

Submissions have been called for. The deadline is July 11. Go here to make your submission opposing this restrictive, virtue-signalling bill. https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/sc/make-a-submission/document/52SCEN_SCF_BILL_88098/k%C4%81inga-ora-homes-and-communities-bill

Is your weekly newsletter being racist?

Labour List MP Priyanca Radhakrishnan told the June 19, 2019, issue of the Courier that the regular emails she gets from Hobson’s Pledge Trust are evidence of “the existence of racist attitudes towards Maori”.

“Racism”, according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, is “the theory that human abilities are determined by race”, while “racialism” is “the belief in the superiority of a particular race”.

If she had done a bit of research before rushing into print, she may have found out that Hobson’s Pledge Trust was formed in 2016 to press for equal political rights for all New Zealanders - of whatever ethnicity, as the website says. (See https://www.hobsonspledge.nz/)

The last three newsletter headlines -- Welfare is to blame, not colonisation, How tribal control of coastal areas may operate, and Children not helped by commissioner’s racism claim, show that the target of our criticism is Government policy, of which she is a part.

These criticisms have nothing to do with either “the theory that human abilities are determined by race”, or “the belief in the superiority of a particular race”.

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