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Blaming Maori and Pasifika education for lack of housing is a disgrace

Nick Smith sunk to a new low when he blamed Maori and Pasifika educational underachievement for plummeting rates of homeownership among their people, Labour’s Acting Education spokesperson Jenny Salesa says.

“The Housing Minister yesterday said lower rates of home ownership among Maori and Pasifika were ‘just a broader reflection of the fact that they tend to have lower education achievement, that they have lower incomes, and that translates itself into housing’.

“His comments totally ignore the fact that National has allowed the housing crisis to spiral out of control. With Auckland house prices rising by an exorbitant $460,000 since National came to office, it’s no wonder an entire generation is being locked out of the Kiwi dream of home ownership.

“Nick Smith’s comments also ignore the facts on Maori and Pasifika educational outcomes in the past 25 years. Maybe he should ask the Education Minister for a lesson.

“Since 1991 the number of Maori with no qualifications has fallen from 58 to 33 per cent. Those with a diploma/trade certificate qualification as their highest qualification increased from 21 to 28 per cent and those with a degree as their highest qualification increased from 1 to 10 per cent.

“Over the same period the number of Pasikifa people with no qualification fell from 56 to 34 per cent. Those with a diploma/trade certificate qualification as their highest qualification increased from 15 to 21 per cent and those with a degree as their highest qualification increased from 1 to 8 per cent.

“Yet despite these improvements in educational outcomes, since 1986 Maori homeownership has plummeted by 20 per cent and Pasifika homeownership by almost 35 per cent.

“Instead of dog whistling to prejudice, Nick Smith should embark on a massive state-backed affordable house building programme and crack down on offshore speculators driving up house prices,” Jenny Salesa says.