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No. 29 (December 1959)
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HOW FAMILY BENEFITS
ARE USED TO
FINANCE MAORI HOUSING

For many families the desire to own their own home can now be realized through the Capitalisation of Family Benefit. This scheme places the opportunity of immediate home ownership before those families who were previously unable to find the balance of the cost of a house not covered by the loan limits of the Department of Maori Affairs and the State Advances Corporation.

Some of the questions people ask about this new scheme are answered in the following statement prepared by the Department of Maori Affairs:

Who May Apply?

Any parent of a child between the age of one year and 16 years may apply providing the child is living with, and is being maintained by the parent.

How Old Must the Child be before the Benefit may be Capitalized?

The child must be at least one year old before the benefit can be capitalized.

When my first child is born, I should like to put the whole family benefit, from birth onwards, towards my house. How can I do that?”

When you apply for Family Benefit following the birth of the child, you can instruct the Social Security Department to accumulate your benefit without interest. At the end of the year, you apply to have the benefit capitalized in the usual way. The accumulated lump sum of family benefit is then added to the amount available for housing.

This is to be especially recommended when the child is the first one, but parents of larger families may also find it convenient.

What is the Greatest Amount Available for each Child?

This will depend on the age of the child when capitalization is applied for. Where the benefit is capitalized from the age of one year until the age of 16 years, the maximum amount in most cases will be £473 16s.

What is the Greatest Amount Available to any one Family?

An application may be made to capitalize a benefit in respect of any number of children in a family, but in no case can the capitalized benefit exceed a total of £1,000.

What is the Minimum Amount Available?

No advance may be made where the capitalized value of the benefit is less than £200.

For What Purposes may the Benefit be Capitalized?

The benefit may be capitalized for any of the following purposes provided the house will be used as a home for the family:

(a)

To acquire a section and erect a new house thereon.

(b)

To acquire a section with a new house already erected thereon that has not previously been occupied.

(c)

To erect a new house on a section already owned.

(d)

To meet the cost of alterations or additions to a house already owned, for the purpose of providing additional bedrooms or living

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(e)

To repay in whole or in part any mortgage or amount due on a registered agreement for sale and purchase owing as at 1st January, 1959, in respect of a home already owned at that date.

(f)

To repay in whole or in part any other debt owing as at 1st January, 1959, and incurred in acquiring a home for the family or in the making of alterations or additions to such home.

Who Must be the Owner of the Property?

The benefit may be capitalized only if the beneficiary (normally this is the mother) is the sole owner of the property, or the property is settled in the names of the beneficiary and her husband as a Joint Family Home, under the Joint Family Homes Act, 1950.

In the case of Maori freehold land where the beneficiary being the wife, is not the owner, a joint tenancy created by the means of a vesting order under the Maori Affairs Act, 1953, is necessary.

If the property is to be settled as a Joint Family home, it is not essential that this be done at the time of the application to capitalize the benefit. Eligibility to capitalize and suitability of the housing proposition will be investigated and an advance of capitalized benefit may be authorised with security meantime over the land in the name of either husband or wife, provided suitable arrangements are made for settlement of the land as a Joint Family Home.

What Security is Required for the Advance?

The advance will be secured by a charge registered against the land. There is no stamp duty or registration fee on the charge. In the case of Maori applicants who are also applying for a loan through the Department of Maori Affairs, that Department will prepare and register the charge.

Is the Advance Repayable?

Normally, the advance is automatically cleared when the child whose benefit has been capitalized reaches the age of sixteen provided the property has continued to be used as a home for the child. If, however, circumstances arise whereby the benefit, if it had not been capitalized, would cease to be payable or the house ceases to be used as a home for the family (e.g., it is sold or let), repayment of the advance will be required. If the child dies within one year of the date of capitalization, the advance remains as a charge on the property until repayment is required. If the child dies more than one year after the date of capitalization repayment will not be required.

How is Eligibility to Capitalize Benefit Determined?

The need for a home and the need for financial assistance to help meet the cost of the home have to be established. In so far as need for a home is concerned, parents of children under sixteen years of age who do not own their own homes will normally be regarded as needing a home.

Financial need will be determined on the over-all financial position of both husband and wife. There is no fixed salary or income limit, but the total income of the husband and wife from all sources, their combined assets, their liabilities, their family responsibilities and their ability to meet commitments on the housing proposition, will be taken into account. Full details must be disclosed when the application is made.

How is an Application Made?

Maori applicants who are arranging their whole housing proposition through the Department of Maori Affairs, will make their application for capitalization of Family Benefit to that Department at the same time as they lodge their application for loan finance.

The Department of Maori Affairs will deal with the Social Security Department on behalf of the applicant as soon as application to capitalize benefit is taken. This will be helpful to Maori applicants as they will find it necessary to deal with only one Department on all matters affecting their capitalized benefit and their loan application.

Where the Maori applicant is applying for loan finance from the State Advances Corporation, or other lending institutions, it will be necessary for him to make his application to capitalize benefit direct to the Social Security Department.

Does it pay to Capitalize?

The answer to this question largely rests with the individual.

The capitalization table is based on 3% compound interest, plus a mortality risk element and these factors have the effect of reducing the amount of capitalized benefit available from the amount that would be received if it was taken by normal monthly payment. In other words, the maximum amount that can be capitalized for one child is £473 16s. If the applicant was to receive Family Benefit at monthly intervals, for the same period as the capitalized advance, approximately £591 would be received. However, the advantage of being able to capitalize the benefit at the time when a home is badly needed may outweigh the loss of part of the benefit from capitalization. It is suggested under the circumstances that any family would be well advised to capitalize where they do not have the cash to meet the difference between the total cost of the housing proposition and the available loan monies and where

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there is urgent need for better housing for the family.

There are cases where the beneficiary relies to a considerable extent on the regular Family Benefit payments for the care and attention of the children. If the benefit is capitalized, considerable difficulty may be found in meeting commitments under any loan which is in operation. The type of people who may be affected in this way include widows, and couples where invalidity or unemployment benefit are the only income. The Department of Maori Affairs has special provisions for dealing with the housing needs of these people, and there may not be the need to capitalize to obtain a new home.

Maori families who feel that capitalization may help them are encouraged to visit the nearest office of the Maori Affairs Department, and talk over their problems with the officers of that Department.

A well-attended meeting at Pakipaki last August formed a branch of the 28th Maori Battalion Association. The new branch will take in an area from the Waikare hotel to the Te Aute hotel and from the coast almost to Te Haroto. The president is Mr E. H. Nepia, secretary Mr W. Mohi.

A Gisborne branch of the Association was also recently formed, with Mr K. Te Hau as patron, Mr K. A. Keiha as president and Mr M. Searancke as secretary.

⋆ ⋆ ⋆

Maori musical operas are becoming a popular entertainment. The latest major shows: ‘Skin Deep’, written by Brother Reginald, performed jointly by pupils of St. Peter's Maori College and Queen Victoria School for Maori Girls, and ‘The Adventures of Hatupatu’, a three-act musical play with a Maori cast thirty strong, staged by the Wairoa Maori Club. In addition there has been the long nationwide tour of Nga Waka concert party, tracing Maori history from the first canoe in dialogue, song and dance.

⋆ ⋆ ⋆

A worthwhile meeting was organized at Otorohanga last August when various tribal committees and representatives of two primary schools met at Otorohanga College to discuss Maori education problems, notably absenteeism and misbehaviour. Tribal committees planned action to assist the schools in their work.