Government announce bottom of cliff emergency housing measures

Recognising that problems of homelessness and the difficulty of getting affordable housing haven’t been resolved, the Government has announced more emergency housing measures – and keep blaming the ‘last nine years’ again, despite property prices climbing right through the last three government tenures.

Government steps up action to prevent homelessness

  • 1000 new transitional housing places delivered by end of year to reduce demand for emergency motel accommodation.
  • Introduce 25% of income payment, after 7 days, for those in emergency motel accommodation to bring in line with other forms of accommodation support.
  • Over $70m extra to programmes that prevents those at risk of losing their rentals becoming homeless and support people out of motels and into permanent accommodation.
  • Alongside these immediate actions, there is a long-term plan of action to address and reduce homelessness.

More vulnerable New Zealanders will be moved from emergency motel accommodation to transitional housing as the Government steps up efforts to prevent and reduce homelessness.

The Aotearoa New Zealand Homelessness Action Plan, released today, will also see an increase of 1,000 transitional housing places by the end of the year, adding to the over 1,300 places already created since the Government was formed, further reducing the reliance on leased motels for emergency accommodation.

Using attack as a form of defence the inevitable blaming of the last government.

“This Government inherited a homelessness crisis decades in the making when we took office, that will take time to fix. The previous Government left us with a chronic shortage of houses and were selling off state houses that people desperately needed,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

“We campaigned on tackling housing and homelessness and we are delivering. This Government has put a public housing building programme into action on a scale that hasn’t been seen in New Zealand for 40 years.

A claim to have addressed the living in cars crisis.

“On coming into office, our immediate priority was to get people out of sleeping in cars and garages or on the street and into safe and warm accommodation.” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Over $70 million in this package is dedicated to programmes that are proven to work in helping vulnerable New Zealander’s to stay in their homes and not end up on the streets.

Two years later a lack of housing is still a problem.:

“This next step in our plan aims to both prevent people becoming homeless in the first place and reduce the reliance on motels for emergency accommodation by increasing the supply of transitional housing,” Associate Housing Minister Kris Faafoi said.

The full set of measures are detailed in the Aotearoa New Zealand Homelessness Action Plan

Details of Aotearoa New Zealand Homelessness Action Plan package, backed by over $300m of extra funding, include:

  • $175m to deliver 1,000 additional transitional housing places by the end of 2020
  • $25.6m extra to the Sustaining Tenancies programme to help those at risk of losing their rental with practical support including budget advice, property maintenance, and mental health and addiction support
  • $20m to work with Māori to prevent homelessness & expand housing supply that delivered by Māori
  • $17.5m to support young people leaving Oranga Tamariki care into accommodation with wrap around support services
  • $16.3m to help acute mental health and addiction inpatients transition into the community with housing and other wrap-around support
  • $13.5m to pilot a rapid re-housing approach for people receiving Emergency Housing Special Needs Grants
  • $19.8 million to expand intensive case manager or navigator support services for people in emergency housing longer than 7 nights
  • $8.7 million for a new housing broker service to connect with local landlords and help more MSD clients secure private rental homes
  • $740,000 to fund programmes to help people gain skills and confidence to secure and manage a private rental home
  • $9.3 million to support the wellbeing needs of children in emergency housing, such paying for transport to school or early childhood education

One thing has caused consternation from the left:

Additionally, to ensure parity with other tenants in social housing, a 25% of income payment will be introduced for people staying in motels for longer than 7 days.

No Right Turn: Labour’s festering Neoliberalism

…the “contribution” will be 25% of a “client’s” income, exactly what they’d be paying if they were in a state house with individual bedrooms and a proper kitchen and a backyard rather than a shitty motel.

What stinks is the reason for it: if you read the Cabinet Paper (paragraphs 63-68), its intended to “support a reduction in the reliance on motels” and produce “behavioural changes” which will supposedly reduce the cost of the programme. In other words, it will cause people to either leave those shitty motels earlier than they otherwise would have, or not ask for assistance in the first place.

None of this fixes the big problem – the continued climb in property prices and rental costs.

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That’s something that past governments plus the current government have failed to deal with.

Some factors are outside government control, but one huge problem remains – the Resource Management Act makes it slow and costly to make more land available for new housing.

And one problem with the RMA is that it allows small numbers of people to hold things up. One example is playing out in Dunedin now. The 2nd Generation District Plan was notified in september 2015. After a lengthy submission process decisions on the 2GP were notified on 7 November 2018.

Since then one small group of people have appealed, have changed their appeals a number of times, have failed to come to an agreement through mediation, and currently after more changes are headed to a hearing in the Environment Court probably about June. There have already been 9 filings on this one appeal so far this year. Over a thousand properties are impacted, with no development possible until this is resolved.

The Dunedin City Council are aware of an urgent need for more land for building, and are trying to get it resolved, but have had to follow RMA processes that allow people to oppose and delay.

There is no sign of this RMA problem being fixed, hence the need for emergency housing measures being tacked on to previous emergency housing measures.

Leave a comment


    • NOEL

       /  14th February 2020

      What a great start to my day. PG posts a graph suggesting the mess started with Labour way back and Blazer counters with a opinion from the Helen Clark Foundation.

    • Gerrit

       /  14th February 2020

      And for nine years Labour had the ability to plan what they would do to alleviate the “housing crisis” and did……nothing.

      • Duker

         /  14th February 2020

        Parties set polocies not ‘plans’ like you assume. Oppositions dont have experts from the government departments seconded to them like Ministers do.
        Simon spends most of his staff budget on people to run social media campiagns and attack the government …its absurd to think an opposition is poring over maps to show places new houses could be built . You have a lindergarten view on how world works.
        Even big companies ‘plans’ can go seriously awray -ask Fletchers- and they do have access to experts to come up with detailed plans.
        What were you in a previous life ….a school teacher with no experience of the wider world outside the classroom and using curriculum plans provided for you.

        I can see close up an new housing area being done by the government , it was a regeneration project . However even though its an existing area with roads, schools , shops etc the existing below ground infrastructure has to be replaced. Stormwater , sewers, electric power, phone lines before they can put the first foundation down, as thats done by private contractors its taken 2 years

        • Gerrit

           /  14th February 2020

          There in lies the problem. Set policies to build 10K housing units but have no plan in how, where, when, who and no costing or budget means, you a right it will absolutely fail.

          I was in a previous life, company director, board member, manager in private enterprise. We planned a lot of detailed policies and those plans were regularly altered, updated, re-costed and re-budgeted for, to suit new conditions as they arose.

          We even planned for “what if” scenarios. Much like the military do.

          Which is why it is always interesting to see opposition parties promise the world and deliver sweet nothings.

          Experience tells us they are all hot air.

          Your need to pigeon hole people, in regards what they did in a previous life, shows an insecurity you may best overcome if you want meaningful dialog.

          • David

             /  14th February 2020

            Labour were the worlds laziest opposition because they never thought they would gain power until 3 months out from the election. In fairness they were polling at 25% so why bother doing any grunt work in preparation to govern.
            The follow on glaringly obvious problem is that they didnt attract any talent at all who perhaps could have been ready to govern after say 12 months of finding their feet, we still have a cabinet stacked full of non deliverers and they are not being pushed to perform by a largely absent leader or by having talented back benchers nipping at their heals.
            There are no Simon Powers, Tony Ryall, Bill English, Steven Joyce, Chris Finlayson et al or a mixture of private sector and government sector experience driven by someone of Keys vast private sector experience of delivering.

            • Duker

               /  14th February 2020

              Funny you dont mention Murray McCully
              You dont mention Nick Smith either. Powers was a Fiedling solicitor who muddled along as Justice Minister.
              And Joyce and English , which great jobs did they get after Politics hungry for their suburb skills ? Jenny Shipley, as a court has found should have stayed well clear of companies boards
              Finlayson awarded himself a QC and has now gone into the top level commercial mediation game …well see how that turns out with his ‘sharp tongue’ and ability to let everyone know hes the smartest one in the room.
              Ryall and his schemes cost the Health sector lost billions, and the previous national government created the Multiple DHB system ( as CHE) and a layer of about 5 Crown Health Funding Agencies ( HFA) above that. That was part of the failed policy to provide ‘health treatment free’ but charge patients for the ‘hotel services – rooms and food etc’
              Yes I have the links, which are even worse when Shipley was Heath Minister and wanted a ‘cutoff age’ for the elderly with expensive treatment. ie Death reviews

            • Gerrit

               /  14th February 2020

              Well if Labour reckoned those National party members were so bad, why did they not, during their 9 years in opposition, put in place safeguards to prevent their MP’s behaving in the same “bad” manner as you have outlined.

              Did they not learn a thing? Surely the party should have had on board capable people that would not make the same mistakes that the National party Mp’s made?

              In senior management there were constant reviews on competition activity. One learned not just what they did successfully but also which policies, products or marketing strategies failed and why.

              That way you don’t make the same mistakes.

            • Blazer

               /  14th February 2020

              ‘ Simon Powers, Tony Ryall, Bill English, Steven Joyce, Chris Finlayson ‘

              what the hell did those no talent bums ever do?:

  1. duperez

     /  14th February 2020

    The issue of housing with its complex multi-dimensional social, economic and environmental facets is reduced to a partisan political debate. ‘We know best, they don’t, they did this, they didn’t do that, we’ll do this, they should do that, we know best,’ and so on, and so on …

    And on it will go. There can be no sensible needed working together, that’s the way it is. I’m trying to work out why there is shock or horror or anger or confusion about the scenario.

  2. NOEL

     /  14th February 2020

    Time to re educate State House tenants. It’s not your home and should be viewed as a taxpayer helping hand so they can save towards their own home.. I get a little annoyed with tenants bleating how Aunty brought up 10 kids and is now been unfairly told she has to move to smaller accommodation.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  14th February 2020

      I remember one woman who was resisting attempts to make her move from a three bedroom place that only she lived in now because she liked to have her grandchildren staying in the holidays. I wonder how she would have felt as a young mother if she’d been told that a nana was hogging a three bedroom place that she and her children needed. She’d been in the house for many years and seemed to think that she owned it.

      There was a list given of why people were turning down state houses. No one would think that having a violent ex in the same street or even the next one wasn’t a reasonable objection, but many were frivolous; no room for the trampoline was one.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  14th February 2020

        National offered people a financial incentive to move to where there were houses to rent, and hardly anyone took up the offer.

      • Duker

         /  14th February 2020

        No room for trampoline .?
        One of your urban myths as those modern round things are about the size of a clothesline

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  14th February 2020

    It’s much more than just the RMA. The whole local govt bureaucracy around the Building Act is utterly buggered by misaligned responsibilities, expertise and incentives. Nothing will change until that does.

  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  15th February 2020

    Farcical. Having made rentals uneconomic for landlords the Government is now forced to make taxpayers carry the can instead. Idiot Lefties “business” as usual.


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