Time Government stepped up and delivered on emergency housing

17 February 2016                                                                   MEDIA STATEMENT

Cabinet documents obtained by Labour show the Government was told in September that funding for emergency housing was disjointed, insufficient, lacked accountability and fairness, and there were major gaps in provision; a reality felt all too acutely here in Hawke’s Bay, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.

“Homelessness and the need for emergency housing is a growing problem in Hawke’s Bay.

“The Cabinet documents obtained via Labour’s Official Information Act request reveal this is not just an Auckland problem; the emergency housing situation is a mess overall, with serious gaps in provision.

“Hawke’s Bay is the fifth largest metropolitan area in the country, yet there is nowhere for our most vulnerable to go; the nearest emergency housing to Napier is over two hours away in Palmerston North.

“The vast majority of constituents who come to my electorate offices have housing needs.

“In late November the Napier and Hastings Citizen Advice Bureaus said they were extremely concerned with the lack of emergency housing in Hawke’s Bay following an escalation in inquiries from homeless people.

“We are fortunate here to have the amazing couple Kiri and Kevin Swannell who operate a weekly soup kitchen in Napier feeding between 40 and 60 people a week, but it is central government’s responsibility to provide affordable, warm housing to those in need.

“These Cabinet documents have been with the Government for four months; they were told in no uncertain terms of the shocking state of emergency housing in New Zealand.

“This shouldn’t be acceptable in the 21st Century; the homeless in Hawke’s Bay are missing out on fundamental services that all Kiwis should expect.

“It’s time for the Government to step up and sort out the emergency housing crisis,” says Meka Whaitiri.

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