Public housing waiting list hits new high
The waiting list for public housing has hit a new high - reaching nearly 14,500 households.
The recently released figure - recorded at the end of November - has more than doubled from the roughly 6000 individuals or families on the list shortly after the 2017 election.
National is blaming Labour's housing policies and says the government has meddled in the rental market instead of building houses.
But the minister responsible, Kris Faafoi, says the government has already delivered some 3300 public housing places, with another 2500 under construction.
They were due to be completed by June, he says.
The increase in demand was due in part to a culture change which meant people knew they would receive the help they need, he says.
Kris adds that Budget 2019 had included $197 million to strengthen and expand the Housing First programme.
That funding would be able to support up to 2700 homeless whānau across New Zealand, he says.
However, National's Associate Housing spokesperson Simon O'Connor says, "Labour was too quick to meddle in the rental market when it should have been focused on building houses.
"The reason we're in this mess today is because KiwiBuild tanked, Labour's new rental standards scared off landlords at the affordable end of the market, and its decision to end tenancy reviews increased pressure on social housing supply."
If National were to get back into government at this year's election, it says it would "prioritise our most vulnerable Kiwis by throwing our weight behind community housing providers and introducing a target to reduce the time it takes MSD to house Priority-A clients on the social housing register".
Faafoi says every New Zealander had a "right to a warm, dry, secure and safe place to live".
"Homelessness is a complex and growing problem that will take a concerted and sustained effort by multiple agencies to ensure homelessness is both brief and non-recurring."
Demand by region
• Northland: 524
• Auckland: 5326
• Waikato: 1494
• Bay of Plenty: 1120
• East Coast: 1405
• Central: 803
• Taranaki: 255
• Wellington: 1595
• West Coast Tasman: 510
• Canterbury: 1063
• Southern: 380
• Other/unknown: 21