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Emergency housing plan `poll-driven panic'

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 7/11/2016

1400 extra emergency housing places would be created, and the money includes a $100m loan for Housing NZ. © Prakash Singh/Getty Images 1400 extra emergency housing places would be created, and the money includes a $100m loan for Housing NZ. NZ First is describing the government's $300 million emergency housing announcement as "poll-driven panic" while Labour accuses it of policy theft.

Prime Minister John Key announced on Monday 1400 extra emergency housing places would be created, and the money includes a $100m loan for Housing NZ.

Rental subsidies will account for $71m, and $102m will be given to community providers to help tenants into more permanent housing.

NZ First leader Winston Peters says the government has panicked under opinion poll pressure.

"National has got the drift that middle New Zealand is feeling uncomfortable that thousands of innocent Kiwis are in hardship," he said.

Labour's housing spokesman, Phil Twyford, says the government is copying his party's policy.

"National has announced funding for an extra 1400 emergency housing places, exactly what Labour announced back in July," he said.

"But there's no substitute for building houses ... the real solution is to stop pushing people off the cliff in the first place."

But the Salvation Army is welcoming the announcement, saying it will help organisations like itself provide emergency housing and related support services.

"The Salvation Army is pleased the government appreciates that people in housing crisis often need intensive and specialised services to find and maintain stable, long-term housing," said spokesman Ian Hutson.

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