A multimillion-dollar step in the right direction is said to provide hope for Māori who are disproportionately represented in the housing crisis.
That's the general consensus in the Bay of Plenty after the Government announced $380 million to deliver about 1000 new homes for Māori, including papakāinga housing, repairs to about 700 Māori-owned homes, and expanding support services.
A further $350m of the previously announced $3.8 billion Housing Acceleration Fund has been ring-fenced to help enable the construction of more homes for Māori.
"Our people face constant housing challenges ... this has been the way for far too long," Associate Māori Housing Minister Peeni Henare said.
It sits in a $1.1 billion package for Māori, including nearly a quarter of a billion dollars for health initiatives such as setting up the new Māori Health Authority.
Ngā Pōtiki ā Tamapahore Trust head of housing Victoria Carroll said homeownership for Māori has been in consistent decline due to low household income and rising house prices.
She said the funding showed the Government recognised it was a serious issue, and it would help whānau on the journey to homeownership.
Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick said iwi were key partners in the district housing strategy and any support to help Māori into housing fitted the local goal of getting more homes.
"Any extra support that enables us to get moving on housing provision will help our district and we would expect to see a fair share coming to Rotorua."
She said the boost built on the work the council was already doing with iwi and government partners to find local solutions to address the housing shortage.
"I expect local iwi with plans or aspirations around housing will look to leverage this government support."
Ngāi Te Rangi chief executive Paora Stanley said as a Māori leader, the news was welcomed.
However, for it to work, the Government needed to ensure the interpretation of how the money should be spent could not be misconstrued and lost in bureaucracy.
He said it seemed as though the Government was reorienting how it worked alongside Māori housing, and how it purchased and built houses.
"We've got some big problems when it comes to Māori housing."
He said in the Bay of Plenty, the funding would give Māori landowners the option to do some "creative and solution-based" housing.
He said it would help ensure resources were put where the people knew what was best, where to invest, and how to build.
However: "It's more than putting someone in a house".
He said things like personal budgets, employment, and health issues were layers that needed to be addressed, and contributed to housing issues and homelessness.
Visions of a Helping Hand chief executive Tiny Deane agreed.
He was unsure whether $380m would be enough, and said just building houses was not the solution to homelessness.
"Having a home is not the answer to the equation, it's making sure people can stay in the house," Deane said.
He said wrap-around services were an important part of ensuring people could retain a home.
He also estimated about 20,000 houses were needed throughout New Zealand, and when looking at the price of housing, he believed more money would need to address the shortage.
Tauranga Budget Advisory manager Shirley McCombe said the focus on Māori housing is important because Māori were disproportionately represented in homelessness.
She said solutions such as homes built on whenua require a different approach.
"This is about equity rather than just equality."
Tē Tuinga Whānau Support Services Trust director Tommy Wilson said it was starting to look like change - for the better - was possible.
"Finally, we can get past just hopes and dreams," he said.
His service provided emergency and transitional housing with wrap-around support and he said 95 per cent of its clients were Māori.
"The stats speak for themselves."
He said the funding would provide hope for the future, and "hope was a powerful thing".
Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency chairwoman Merepeka Raukawa-Tait said Māori housing, health, and education will start to address inequalities.
"A good start to recovery."
Rotorua Budget Advisory manager Pakanui Tuhura said the announcement showed a recognition of the impacts of Covid-19 on Māori and lower-income households.
For him, the budget addressed the issues of today: income, housing, and the cost of living and was, overall, a starting point in resolving housing affordability by increasing stocks of affordable homes.
He was unsure if the funding would reduce house prices, and said those who bought at a high price would want to sell at least at an equivalent price.
"One way to drive house prices down is if we can build a home for $350,000, we should be able to sell it for that to new home buyers, not speculators."
"Unfortunately, the housing prices are such that only the higher middle class and upper class can afford to buy new while everyone else is stuck with buying second-hand."
Salvation Army founder William Booth said the organisation wanted to see more emphasis on housing, and was calling for more funding for wrap-around support for those living in emergency motel accommodation.
"Urgent investment is needed to increase the number of suitable and transitional houses for those on benefits and low incomes."
• $380 million delivering about 1000 new homes for Māori including papakāinga housing, repairs to about 700 Māori-owned homes and expanding support services.
• $242.8m for Māori health initiatives, including setting up the new Māori Health Authority.
• $150m in Māori education to support Māori boarding schools and lift kōhanga reo teachers' pay.
• $42m to build a sustainable Māori media sector and invest in programme content.
• $15m for Māori tourism.
• $14.8m for the implementation of the Māori language strategy.