You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Millions for homeless in motels: Labour

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/04/2017

The government is spending millions putting up homeless families in motels, Labour says.

Party leader Andrew Little has figures showing $7.7 million was spent in the last quarter of last year, which he has worked out pays for an average 400 families a night.

However, motels are a better option than people sleeping in their cars, Social Housing Minister Amy Adams said on Tuesday.

The government is still looking to motels in the short term until more emergency and social housing places can be found around the country.

Mr Little described the system as at "breaking point" and the policy is making the shortage of tourist accommodation even worse.

"These families face being booted out for the Masters Games and the Lions tour," he said.

Mr Little raised the issue in parliament, questioning Prime Minister Bill English, who didn't confirm how many families were being sent to motels but said the government was spending $300m on emergency housing.

He accused Labour of holding up developments which could deliver hundreds of extra state houses.

But Ms Adams said the government was on track to create 8600 emergency and social housing places, with the bulk expected to be ready by winter.

Mr English said the size of the response was unprecedented and this year there would be 2000 more emergency housing places than last year.

He stopped short of acknowledging the need is the result of a housing crisis, saying it was one aspect of New Zealand's growing population.

"The housing market's been a bit slow to respond to that and we're going hard to fill a gap," he said.

"The key to this is... getting more houses on the ground faster is really important. The house doesn't appear just because there's a right to housing."

Mr Little said homelessness was not just an issue in Auckland but around the country where investors were pushing up prices, and rents, making homes increasingly unaffordable.

"This is a government that hasn't taken the housing crisis seriously, we have a massive shortage of housing including social housing and emergency housing and what they are doing is not enough," he said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon