National emergency housing problems

There is an escalating emergency housing problem, and escalating risks for the Government as embarrassing details emerge.

Newshub: Government blows the budget on emergency housing

The Government has had a massive blowout in emergency housing grants, spending almost four times its annual budget in just three months.

As part of an overall $345m investment in emergency housing, the Government only budgeted $2m per year for an estimated 1400 emergency housing grants – which pay for urgent motel stays for families in need.

But in the December quarter alone, the Ministry of Social Development spent $7.7m on emergency housing grants.

There were 8860 grants in the final three months of 2016 – which is more than six times the Government’s expectations.

Social Housing Minister Amy Adams says funding will be topped up from Crown funds in the same way benefits are.

“We’re not going to run out of money, nor will people miss out,” she said. “While demand has been higher, which we’ve been very upfront about, the grant will be available to anyone who is eligible.”

The December quarter was the first to be properly recorded by the Ministry of Social Development.

“The $2 million was what officials predicted might be needed – remembering that this was the first time we’d established the grant, so it was always going to be a forecast,” Ms Adams said.

In a briefing to the Incoming Minister of Social Development, MSD warns the additional demand is “creating pressures”.

“The high level of demand for emergency housing has seen higher than expected numbers of households being supported to stay in motels and other forms of commercial accommodation,” it said.

This is embarrassing for the Government. They didn’t do enough soon enough.

The pressures on housing are also creating funding pressures plus pressures on National in an election year.

Newshub: Government counts homeless in tourism stats

The Government has been counting homeless people living in motels in its tourism statistics.

Statistics Minister Mark Mitchell has confirmed official tourism numbers include people who are being put into hostels or motels through emergency housing special needs grants.

The Statistics New Zealand Accommodation Survey is used as a measure of tourism levels, with the definition used to define the domestic tourists “one New Zealander spending one night at an establishment”.

However when Newshub asked tourism minister Paula Bennett if homeless were included, she said no.

“No, because they’re not tourists. Sorry, I’m not sure what you’re asking.

“No they’re not included in the tourism stats for accommodation.”

The Government are looking increasingly out of touch and too slow to respond to housing issues, especially emergency housing.

RNZ: PM responds to criticism over housing crisis

English can’t easily talk down the severity of the problems or the embarrassment.

Leave a comment


  1. Nelly Smickers

     /  27th February 2017

    ‘The grant was introduced in May by then Social Housing Minister 8Paula Bennett*, who admitted to Newshub she had *no idea* how big the problem was…’ LOL ❗

  2. Blazer

     /  27th February 2017

    no idea,default phrase for …Bubbles’ these days.What do you know about climate change minister.?…nothing!This govt is wilfully blind about housing and immigration ,has been for years and hopes it can sleep walk another election win without addressing them.

  3. The chickens and doves of neoliberalism and FIIRE come home to roost …

    An economy based on Real Estate as much or more than productive industry … an economy that exploits sweat-shop workers overseas in order to pin-down the wages and hence exploit its own low-paid and under-employed as well … An economy that is essentially ‘happy’ to accommodate people in motels at huge expense rather than address core issues …

    As with Muldoon, so with English, Bennett and Adams … borrow to buttress the systems’ failure …

  4. Keyloggers4U

     /  27th February 2017

    National have problems with housing. They have a problem with bureaucrats too- what nut counts homeless people as tourists? Probably someone who can’t subtract the total number of people housed by the state in motels, from official tourist numbers.

    I must admit this pantamine has me in fits of laughter. I couldn’t think of anything more amusing until Andrew Little came on television and said: ‘ National have stuffed it up again.’

    And still the tears of mirth roll.

  5. We estimated that we would use 2000 bombs to knockout the terrorist organisation and were funded accordingly. We found out our initial estimate was widely off the mark so we asked for and got 10,000 bombs and a promise of more if needed. We replaced our intelligence chief as a follow up. He’s now peeling spuds for chips for the troops. We estimated $2 million for emergency accommodation. We found the demand was significantly under-estimated and was 6 times the initial estimate so we provided another $12 million to meet the demand and have a promise of more if needed. I thought that was the way Government worked. The estimator is now peeling spuds in the basement of te Beehive.

  6. NOEL

     /  27th February 2017

    In other areas of funding shortfall detractors are met with a patronising “you realise that this will have to be deducted from some other initiative.”

    Oh yeah its election year.

  7. Brown

     /  27th February 2017

    What type of people are in emergency housing? I hear rumors of people who have wrecked everything they occupied and haven’t paid the rent anyway. We need some discussion around the problem and it has to include people who live like pigs and should not be housed because they have no idea about cleanliness, sobriety, not contaminating other people’s stuff with drugs and doing what is generally acceptable in a civilised society. I’d like to see such called out and told they are off the housing list permanently.

    • PDB

       /  27th February 2017

      Yep – many of these people are ‘unhousable’ due to past indiscretions…….the real solution is;

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  27th February 2017

        Motel accommodation seems like a good idea….until one hears how some of these people act in the motels. If I was in a motel that had that going on when I was paying a lot of money for my night there, I would not go there again-and I’d probably tell other people not to. Motel owners have to make a living, and they can’t have too many empty units or they’ll go bankrupt. It is much harder to rebuild a damaged reputation than it is to gain a good one. Would the motels be covered for the decontamination after P using tenants-and the potential lost revenue from that unit ? No wonder some are saying no more WINZ tenants.

        • Yes Miss Kitty … Tourists, travelling salespeople and … the homeless …. Its not a great mix …

          Of course, we must also acknowledge that not all WINZ clients use P and that in fact we DON’T KNOW how many do, what proportion of WINZ motel clients they are or really anything else about them other than hearsay …

          What we DO KNOW is that our much lauded free market FIIReal Estate economy has failed to provide housing for them, and the austere social welfare that comes with it (the neoliberal paradigm) has failed to provide social housing for them …

          Pretty soon we’ll have spent enough “other peoples money” on them that the government might as well have just given them a home deposit … and our overseas borrowings could take the form of their home loans …

          Interesting that at a time of declining motel use due to freedom camping, air b&b, book-a-bach et al … Uber Accommodation … WINZ provides a lifeline and a trough for many motel owners … as they have done for years via accommodation supplements for property investors euphemistically called ‘landlords’ … Fuel for the FIIRE!!!

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  28th February 2017

            Hardly a trough, as you so insultingly put it, when one hears about how some of the WINZ people treat the motels. Have you ever stayed in one ? Would you like to have the people in the next one making a noise until all ahours, throwing furniture into the swimming pool and generally making pests of themselves ? People don’t have to be on P to behave in that antisocial way. It’s unlikely that motel owners would decline guaranteed income unless the income wasn’t worth the trouble it causes.

            No, the ones who behave like this and other guests are NOT a good mix. Who’d want to stay somewhere like that ? Any sales reps would probably make sure that the company sent them somewhere else next time.

            If you think that giving people a deposit will solve all problems, dream on.

            And if you think that landlords and landladies are not entitled to a return on their investment, you can’t have ever had money invested yourself.

            • Got a link …?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  28th February 2017

              It must have been on the news. I can’t find that story in the paper-there are others on similar lines.

            • Last year in Auckland and Tauranga “landlords and landladies” got a static, passive return on their investment of 24% average appreciation, let alone their rental return, which, to my knowledge, is never ever set at a loss-making level …

              The Bond would cover most damage …

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  28th February 2017

              The bond cover ? Dream on. It doesn’t cover loss of rent if the tenants don’t pay it. They also pay tax, rates, insurance, maintenance…and if the house is empty for a while, they still have to pay out the expenses. If a tenant uses it for a P lab, as we know some do, the bond wouldn’t cover that, and I am certain that insurance specifically excludes it.

      • The hard core …. Right? But HOW MANY … ? Geeeeeeeee …. We don’t know ….

        But hay … Its a good excuse for not dealing with the underlying social and economic issues

        Scapegoat the few and tar the many with the same brush …

        • Speaking of the few … Its commonly known that –

          A few house builders are cowboys …
          A few Real Estate agents are scoundrels …
          A few property developers are embezzlers …
          A few property investors are greedy speculators …
          A few landlords are deceiptful userers and misers …
          A few politicians are …

      • I have the perfect answer. Put them into Army Barracks and get them used to the rules for living there. After 3 months, I bet you they will find a better solution on their own!

        • Its the weapons training part Beejay … THEY might like it too much …

          • No weapons training, just daily inspections and cleanups using usual cleaning tools. If they stuff up, no food until they paint 100 stones (large) white or grey, or scrub out the latrines with brush soap and hot water. Kids to attend school, parents who are illiterate to attend school separately. PT for all on a daily basis.
            If they survive one three months of the regime the family gets to be listed for social housing. If one family member stuffs up, they repeat the cycle (whole family). It will never happen, but one is allowed to dream!

            • This worked for the entire population in the past did it Beejay?

              I think the days of military solutions are long gone old chap …

              Not to say self-discipline is a bad thing, but contemporary expression – ‘SELF-discipline’ – is a completely different animal from the pre-Peace movement-hippie-reform-digital-cellular-GenX-Millenial version …

              Why don’t the British build computers? They can’t make them leak oil …

    • Nelly Smickers

       /  27th February 2017

      @ Brown…. (that’ *uptick* is from us by the way)

      As Wayne sez, “Another typical bloody *Government Department* ❗ Just as the Police refuse to divulge the *race or ethnicity* of offenders they are seeking, so to the Social Housing Ministry…..once again all that does is leave people to speculate” 😡

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  28th February 2017

        The police don’t refuse that-unless they don’t know themselves. People are still described by their race when they are being sought for a crime-and when there’s a photo, it’s a bit of a giveaway. What would be the point of NOT describing a wanted offender ?

        • Blazer

           /  28th February 2017

          very…suss ..Kitty….Police are looking for an old ,uptight caucasian woman to…help with their…enquiries.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  28th February 2017

            It’s all right, I won’t dob you in.

            Does anyone still say Caucasian ? In this century ? Good heavens, I haven’t heard that for a very long time-except when it’s used about someone. somewhere or something that really is Caucasian.

            You must have heard that police are looking for a tall/short/thickset Maori/Pacific islander/European/etc etc man/woman aged about (years)

            There would so little point in saying that the police were looking for a man/woman in conection with….that they wouldn’t bother, I imagine. If they show a photo, then the person’s race is obvious, or at least indicated.

  8. duperez

     /  27th February 2017

    Embarrassing for the Government? Maybe, but probably not. Embarrassment is a place on the side of the road you travel down, usually fast, and soon leave behind. Nothing compared to the constant signs indicating in numbers where you’re going. Polling points.

  1. National emergency housing problems — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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