The Minister of Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, last week announced 24 community-led housing repair projects will receive funding from the Māori Housing Network (which gets it from taxpayers) totalling $5.8 million.
In the same press release, she and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi announced a new programme called Sorted Kāinga Ora. It involves a series of “workshops to help whānau decide whether they are ready for home ownership”.
Someone – it seems – has decided whanau are unable to work out if they are ready to own a house without the help of bureaucrats from Jacinda’s Nanny State.
The programme “will give whānau the tools to help set goals and put a plan into action to help achieve them.”
It was developed by Te Puni Kōkiri and the Commission for Financial Capability to work alongside projects supported by the Te Puni Kōkiri Māori Housing Network.
Point of Order emailed Faafoi’s office at the weekend to ask:
- Will this service be available to non-Maori people?
- If not, could we be directed to an equivalent programme for non-Maori people?
We have yet to receive a reply.
Meanwhile the Taxpayers Union has lodged an official information request to determine the expected cost of hosting these workshops.
Spokesman Louis Houlbrooke said his organisation will later be checking to ensure that the cost comes in under budget, in light of the recent budget blowouts during the Maori-Crown Relations Minister’s series of hui across the country.
He says of the clumsily named Sorted Kāinga Orai programme:
“It’s a poor use of taxpayer money. The Government seems to be trying to duplicate financial advice services that are already available from the banks or free online.
“The major barriers to home ownership exist for Maori and non-Maori alike, and will hardly be solved with a few talkfests.
“The Government can help aspiring homeowners by actually reducing the cost of housing. A good start would be to eliminate the red tape around building and land supply that acts as a kind of regulatory tax.”
The Commission for Financial Capability – we would have thought – is already helping people with advice of the sort to be provided under the new programme.
According to its website, the CFFC is an independent government-funded organisation charged with helping people to get ahead financially.
“CFFC uses a financial health framework to segment New Zealand’s 3.9m adults, and a triage approach to determine who needs what, and how best to deploy our finite resources for the 14% of New Zealanders in Financial ‘Intensive Care’, the 36% ‘In the Ward’ and the 50% who we call ‘GP Visits’.”
A section of the website is devoted to empowering Māori and Pasifika people to get ahead financially:
Getting to grips with money and making it work for you starts here. From starting a budget, to understanding insurances and Kiwisaver as well as what it takes to buy a house, we have some cool videos and free resources to help you.
The CFFC is headed by Diane Maxwell, the Retirement Commissioner.
It is involved in “New Zealand’s National Strategy for Financial Capability”, described as “a practical framework for raising the financial capability of New Zealanders”.
In 2017, a total of 130 organisations supported or contributed to the National Strategy which is aligned with the Investor Capability Strategy (led by the Financial Markets Authority) under the government’s 2015 Statement on Financial Capability (you can learn more here).
According to its 2016/17 annual report, the commission’s total revenue was $7,165,380.
The Crown provided all of this except for “other revenue” of $365,088 and interest revenue of $4548.
Expenditure on financial capability amounted to $5,625,195 and total expenditure was $7,310,587.
That left a deficit of $145,207.
It looks like someone has persuaded Cabinet to cough up even more money to help some citizens – we may wonder who and how many? – decide if they are ready to buy a house.
Bob Edlin is a veteran journalist and editor for the Point of Order blog HERE.