Housing crisis: Whanganui considers joint initiative with iwi

Posted 29 April 2021 by Moana Ellis

Whanganui District Council and iwi are looking at partnering in a joint initiative to address the housing crisis recently described as horrific by local iwi.

Whanganui District Council building

Photo: LDR

The traditional roles and functions of councils will come under the spotlight in the Local Government review announced last week, but Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall said his council was already looking into new sectors flagged up locally as being the most pressing areas of community need.

He said he saw a desire to have social initiatives pushed out into the community, as in Hastings where housing has been built in a community partnership with the local council and a housing trust.

McDouall said the partnership concept was key.

“I’ve been talking to iwi groups around housing but we need government money to be able to build 80 to 100 houses – that wouldn’t completely quell our housing crisis but it’d knock the top off it, particularly if it’s good quality, sunny, sea views, that kind of thing.”

McDouall said the council has been talking to hapū and iwi about ways of addressing social need, and supported exploring the idea of setting up a social care entity alongside hapū and iwi.

“It’s a model with whānau at the centre and why wouldn’t you look at something that has the whānau as the first, second and third considerations.

“A provision of social care through the community has been failing, so if it’s failing let’s look at a different model – making local decisions for local people is the best way in many of these things.”

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