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Homlessness 'Nat's legacy': Greens

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 31/05/2017

The doubling in less than two years of the number of people urgently seeking housing shows homelessness will be the National government's legacy, the Greens say.

The Ministry of Social Development's latest Housing Register shows 3422 people across the country were deemed eligible and in need of immediate housing in March this year, compared to 1641 in June 2015.

Another 1433 people were waiting for housing on the Priority B list.

The bulk of the demand continues to be in Auckland where 2015 people are waiting for social housing.

Child Poverty Action Group believes the numbers don't necessarily reflect a deepening crisis, but a "more honest" approach by the government.

"The need was always there. It's just a change in the way [the Ministry of Social Development] is engaging in people asking for help," housing spokesman Alan Johnson told NZ Newswire.

But the Greens say New Zealand is "heading into another winter of homelessness under National".

"The tragic truth that we're hearing from the people working at the frontline of the housing crisis is that this is going to be another winter of families sleeping in their cars, garages and on the streets," said co-leader Metiria Turei.

"Homelessness is going to be this National government's legacy."

The housing crisis was a product of government policies that allowed property speculators a free ride while state houses were sold off, she said.

Ms Turei said National had refused to participate in the Green-Labour-Maori Party Homelessness Inquiry but had still failed to come up with their own solutions.

Comment has been requested from Social Housing Minister Amy Adams.

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