The sale of state houses poses an opportunity for iwi organisations, according to the new Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox.

Ms Fox told Radio New Zealand this morning that the party's policy of He Whare Ahuru He Oranga Tangata was an example of how iwi provided housing opportunities for people in need in their community.

She said under that policy, iwi would be looking to buy the state houses from the government.

However, she was critical of the government for abdicating their responsibility in housing.

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"There is some benefit [for Maori], but I don't think that the government should be absolving its responsibility for providing state houses for families who are in desperate need."

The Finance Minister wouldn't be drawn on details of the state housing sale.

Bill English told Radio New Zealand the details were still being finalised, but that the sale was to provide more suitable housing for small families and big families.

"You can't put 10 people in a three-bedroom house so we've got to get more of the right sized houses for the people who need them.

"Our first focus is getting the money to be able to help more people in serious housing need."