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More Targeted Pacific Housing Polices Needed

The Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Hon Tuariki Delamere, has released a scoping report on the status of housing for Pacific peoples in New Zealand that highlights the need for effective targeting to achieve better housing outcomes for Pacific peoples.

This report is timely as housing was identified as a key issue by Pacific community leaders at the Ministry’s recent Pacific Vision International Conference,” said Mr Delamere.

The report provides statistical data, anecdotal evidence and outlines the linkages and flow-on effects that housing for Pacific peoples has on their health, education, and their overall social wellbeing.

“It is a starting point that will help form the basis on which housing policies that are responsive to the needs of Pacific peoples can be developed.

“In the housing stakes Pacific people are at the bottom of the heap. Pacific people own the fewest houses and are more likely to live in rented accommodation.”

Pacific people are likely to have higher occupancy rates in their houses - is 4.3 people per household compared to 2.8 for the overall population. Pacific people are also more likely to be living as extended families, 37 percent in comparison to the main ethnic groups.

“Although it is not possible on the basis of current information or in terms of hard quantifiable evidence to be 100 percent sure of the causes of such characteristics, in my view income is an obvious factor,” said Mr Delamere.

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“Lower personal income may encourage people to share housing in order to minimise costs, but comparative analysis of household incomes from the 1996 Census show that household incomes for most of the individual Pacific groups is still less than the national median.”

A study by J Davey “From Birth to Death III” (1993), noted that the relative disadvantage of Pacific children with respect to household income would be worse if Pacific people on average did not live in large households.

The Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs will be working closely with the Social Policy Agency Housing Unit to develop a series of forward plans to achieve the objective of adequate housing for Pacific people, incorporated in any plans targeting low-income people.


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