Fat chance of owning a house!


I was staggered watching the news last night and hearing the PM say that first-time homeowners were still a priority for the government. He was obviously pitching at middle and upper class New Zealanders because that is so far from the reality of Pasifika families.

In the middle of last century Pasifika people were warmly welcomed to NZ to meet the shortfall of necessary labour demands. We learned quickly that in NZ, owning your own home gave you a sense of security, financial stability and accomplishment. You talk to anyone of our parents’ generation and owning a house is still the benchmark for success in why they came here in the first instance. Appallingly, the journey towards the dream of owning your own house has become a living nightmare for many of our people.

The rate of home ownership amongst Pasifika at the last census was 37% compared to 67% for the rest of NZ. Fifty eight per cent of Pasifika people live in rental accommodation, almost double that of the NZ population. Our people have the lowest rate of home ownership in the country in comparison to other ‘main groups’. There are a number of cumulative challenges that impact on these figures. Sixty seven per cent of Pasifika people live in Auckland; our median age is 21 (compared with 36 for NZ); Pasifika median income is approxiamtely70% that of the national income and Auckland is exceedingly expensive to live in.

If the PM was genuine in his comments about first-time homeowners remaining a priority for this government, he’s be doing more to address the cumulative factors that influence our in/ability to buy a house. These include low incomes, poor health outcomes, cold and damp rental housing, high unemployment especially among our young people and educational under/achievement. But this government is blind to those issues whilst telling us that we need to upskill and do more to make a positive contribution to NZ society. That’s rich coming from people in well-fed and well-warmed houses. The reality is a stark contrast for Pasifika people in NZ.

The dream for most Pasifika families in NZ is to own their own home. A place where we can hang our degrees on the walls, raise the children and grandchildren, invite the family and church to, create colourful gardens around, hang numerous framed photos (each with a lei over the top of the frame) and fill with cultural heritage and love. That’s what owning a house means to us. The economic reality is that most of us have a fat chance of ever realising that dream.


  1. Your articles are full of complaints and problems. The government can only do so much before our people need to start doing things for ourselves. We descend from a long line of entrepreneurs and ancestors who dared to endeavour. They brought us here in hope that we would continue to advance. Your articles portray our people as victims. We are not that. I am not that.

    • Efeso is suggesting that the government stop doing things which make it harder for low income people, not give them stuff.

      • And what exactly should, according to you, the government do? Why can’t we be responsible for our own choices and finances? We could choose to save on smokes and alkies and invest in houses, etc. But generally, we don’t. And that’s why you’ve got rant blogs like this.

        • I would go through your GCSB files until I found something to use against you, then confiscate your house and put you in prison. The fact that you use words such as “invest” and rave about alkies and smokes when the issue is affordable housing makes you unworthy of a serious answer.

          • The fact that you seem to think everyone else owes you the privilege of owning a house, free education, free everything else shows that you will never take responsibility for your own actions. Always blaming the government and everyone else but yourself. Piffle!

            There are some of us who strive for the best for our families and make the hard decisions, and there are those of us who sit back and enjoy the fruits of others’ labour. And then there are those of us who have don’t seem to know or want to do that.

            Let’s blame pokies for us not being able to look after our money. Let’s blame MacDonalds and KFC for our obesity. Let’s blame the Government for housing affordability. Blame the ‘rich’ for us not being able to find a job. Get a life, really!

  2. Yes – Key spouts another bullshit sound byte that he won’t remember later.
    When I heard him say that my heart sank as it not based on the reality of what I see in the cost of living for Pasifika and other middle / low income NZ now or what the reserve bank has been saying lately. Its almost like feudalism is going to be fashionable again. We will all hail to the landoverlords – as long it doesn’t interrupt X factor.

  3. To be blunt, people like you discourage entrepreneurship and demand handouts – using other people’s money, effort and time to forcibly ‘help’ the so-called less fortunate. Well we are not and we don’t need ‘help’. We are a proud people, we do not need people like you spouting ‘social justice’. It’s always easy using other people’s money isn’t it?

    • You mean using other peoples money like how this National Govt spent billions of dollars bailing out SCF investors? Or the millions of dollars given to the richest private schools? Or the tax changes which gave millions in tax cuts to the rich and transferred that tax burden on the poor through GST increases?

  4. Put simply the answer is education.

    Pacific People, and anyone else for that matter, would be able to afford a house with their partner if they up-skilled and were wanted by the employers paying the high salaries.

    Auckland’s future is in high skilled jobs, everyone needs to make education a priority.

  5. Great article Mr Collins. While Mr Key’s comments may have been pitched from a strength based approach (middle class +), it doesn’t excuse him sweeping under the carpet the small issue of equality and social justice for all Aotearoa New Zealanders. As a house owner and someone who has worked hard, my whanau and aigas have also done the same if not more, but they still have found it difficult to make ends meet (theyre not alkies or problem gamblers). There in lies questions which the government may dare to answer and put in place effective strategies that would bring about financial and socioeconomic benefits for all and not just build on the strengths of a few fortunate kiwis. Afterall, democracy is about the majority and should Mr. Key continue down this path, he will seal National’s fate by next election. That’s not a bad thing necessarily either.

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