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Opposition to hold homelessness inquiry

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6/07/2016 Peter Wilson, Political Writer

Labour and the Greens are going to hold their own inquiry into homelessness.

They wanted parliament's social services select committee to do it but National MPs used their majority to vote it down.

Labour leader Andrew Little says politics should have been set aside.

"The country has been shocked by the recent rise in homelessness," he said on Wednesday.

"Labour and the Green Party will go ahead and run their own inquiry, with hearings in a number of the main centres providing the opportunity for submissions from the public, experts and service providers."

The Greens say they'll work with Labour to find "real solutions" to homelessness.

"The government is refusing to take any meaningful action and people are hurting," said Marama Davidson.

Prime Minister John Key says a select committee inquiry wouldn't have been worthwhile.

"Caucus had a discussion and the reason we didn't adopt it was because we have already done a lot of work in that area," he told reporters.

"We have quite a strong plan for dealing with homelessness and what we need to do is implement it - I don't think having another discussion is going to do much."

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says there was a comprehensive review last year.

"We're very aware of the problem," she said.

In parliament, Labour's Phil Twyford questioned Ms Bennett about the decision.

"Did she instruct her caucus colleagues on the social services committee to vote against the motion for an inquiry, given that they had been supportive of an inquiry?" he asked.

Ms Bennett said it was a caucus decision and she didn't issue any instructions.

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