A representative of the Iwi Chairs Forum said this morning that iwi should have state houses transferred to them for free.
Te Runanga o Te Rarawa chairman Haami Piripi made the comments on TV3's The Nation this morning.
Many of the houses were "at the very low end of the spectrum in terms of the Government housing portfolio," he said.
He said social housing was part of "post-modern capitalism" and he had concerns that if the market crashed and the value of houses went down, iwi would make a "significant loss".
"Our starting point is they have no value," he said, as there would be an ongoing obligation to support the families who lived in them.
The Salvation Army turned down the opportunity to buy state housing from the Government in March, which Mr Piriri brought up this morning.
At the time, Major Campbell Roberts of the Salvation Army said the church organization did not believe "the lives of tenants would be sufficiently improved by such a transfer".
Nor did it have the "expertise, infrastructure and resources to successfully manage any social housing transfer of size", he said.
Iwi would be able to "move social housing into affordable housing," Mr Piripi said.
"Because we're prepared to co-invest and utilise our own assets and resources to respond to needs.
"If the Government regarded this as an investment and not as an asset sale ... then we are the partner for them."