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Sleep in cars protest in Hamilton, Napier

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 22/07/2016

Homeless sleep under the doorway of New Zealand Bank in Auckland. © Rex Images Homeless sleep under the doorway of New Zealand Bank in Auckland. People are sleeping in cars in Hamilton and Napier on Saturday night as part of the ongoing #ParkUpForHomes protest movement.

The idea is to show solidarity with "those for whom living this way has become an appalling reality", organisers say.

They are trying to put pressure on the government to create a better safety net for "the most vulnerable who are being squeezed out of housing and into cars, garages and caravan parks".

The Hamilton event is led by Fairfield Enderly Resilience Network.

Homelessness is a New Zealand-wide issue, affecting more and more of New Zealand's youth who are finding themselves on the street, says Wai Tupaea, spokesman for the Napier event.

"Since 2011 the Hawke's Bay has lost 377 state houses. We have families still on the waiting list, and an augmented list of our brothers and sisters living on the streets," he said.

Earlier this week Work and Income said it wasn't responsible for vetting accommodation after referring families to illegal Auckland garages rented for up to $400 a week.

The social agency said councils were responsible for policing living standards after its attention was brought to the case of property manager who rented out several illegal garage conversions.

"Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett needs to explain why the government thinks it is acceptable for it to refer families to live in garages and sheds," said Labour housing spokesman Phil Twyford.

"What's next, dog kennels?"

The government was putting money into the pockets of slum landlords in bond and rent in advance but not vetting the standard of accommodation, he said.

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