Kaitaia's list of problems for homelessness inquiry

  • 31/08/2016

People in Kaitaia can't wait to tell politicians about the problems they face as the cross-party homelessness inquiry kicks off in the Northland town today.

Town residents feel like they are being penalised for where they live. They want to address what they say is unequal accommodation support services and unfair family tax credits in the region. The average income for the region sits at $21,000 a year.

He Korowai Trust chief executive Ricky Houghton says he hopes people listen when he says these families need help.

"Our solutions are not going to come out of a hole in the wall in the middle of Kaitaia, they're not going to come out of Wellington, they're going to come from within ourselves, and we need some support up here.

"Everything has been centralised, this community has been raped of all its resources, they've all been taken out of it and there's nothing being put back in."

Mr Houghton says there's 175 acres of undeveloped and unutilised Maori land in the area.

"People are driving past their ancestral land to live in state homes. They're wanting desperately to move back onto their ancestral land and they're having a lot of problems doing that.

"The benefits of moving back will allow them to live within their natural support and take their rightful place – reconnect their umbilical cord back to their ancestral land."

The region faces a combination of homelessness, unemployment issues, isolation and families living below the poverty line, amongst increasing levels of violence and crime.