Paying homeless to get out of town no answer to housing crisis

Paula Bennett’s offer of $5,000 to get homeless families out of Auckland is just a cynical, desperate ploy to look like she’s doing something about the housing crisis, says Jenny Salesa, MP for Manukau East.

You’d think she would have learnt from her previous attempt to push South Auckland Pacific people out and drive them to small South Island towns that had only six or so spare houses state houses and insufficient support for employment placements.

“There was strong push-back from the regions then, which hadn’t been consulted and didn’t have spare houses or support infrastructure for these families.

“Many of the people desperate for a home are working. They have children at local schools. They are part of communities. Paying them to walk away from a job and their support networks here and shift to a distant town is just not an option for many families.

“The Minster’s recent emergency-housing-fund announcement was more of the same. She was forced to admit that the 3,000 “new” places for emergency accommodation she’d promised were not actually new at all, just existing beds.

“Emergency accommodation in Auckland is so full that vulnerable, homeless families are being put up in motels, which is plunging them into unmanageable debt. They must eventually pay back to Work and Income the costs of their emergency housing stay at motels, which could be thousands of dollars.

“Neither of these “answers” is going to get desperate families out of sleeping in cars or overcrowded garages before winter sets in. These ill-conceived, knee-jerk reactions, are not well considered plans to address Auckland’s runaway

Labour MP Jenny Salesa Latu
Labour MP Jenny Salesa Latu

housing crisis.

“This is yet more evidence this Government’s housing policy is a shambles and is failing many New Zealand families. In eight years they’ve barely dented the more than 40,000 house shortfall which Auckland is facing let alone kept up with the extra 13,000 new homes needed each year just to keep up with population increases. Their new budget doesn’t address the housing crisis either.

“A society is judged by how it looks after and cares for its most vulnerable citizens. In this respect, in the area of housing, the national Government has failed our poor and vulnerable children.

“This out-of-touch Government must realise that the obvious thing to do in a housing crisis is to stop selling state houses and to build more homes. This is what Labour would do,” says Jenny Salesa.

Contact: Jenny Salesa 021 940 863

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