Govt paying motel bills for 350 households

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Emergency housing was brought into sharp focus last winter in Auckland with rising costs in housing and shortages leading a surge in homeless families.Photo: File

The Government is funding 350 households this week to stay in motels in Auckland at present.

That is on top of the 265 emergency units it is funding through social service providers in Auckland and it has another 650 in the pipeline it wants secured before winter, 220 of which should be available very soon.

Labour leader Andrew Little suggested in Parliament today that 400 families were being accommodated in motels - based on assumptions from the December quarter.

But later the actual figures were revealed by Associate Social Housing Minister Alfred Ngaro.

He said Prime Minister Bill English had opened 43 units of transitional housing in Otahuhu this month, another six units would be opened soon in Kepa Rd, Orakei and he would soon announce details of another 63 units in South Auckland.

Mr Ngaro was being questioned by Kelston MP Carmel Sepuloni who questioned whether those usuing motels for emergency housing would be squeezed out during the World Masters Games in Auckland which is estimated to attract 35,000 competitors and supporters from April 21.

Emergency housing was brought into sharp focus last winter in Auckland with rising costs in housing and shortages leading a surge in homeless families.

Mr Little said that after the "heartbreaking scenes last winter of families sleeping in cars and garages," the Government had not fixed the issue.

Prime Minister Bill English said the Government had announced a $354 million package last November to fund 2150 emergency housing units that would support 8000 families a year (in three-month rotations).

He said funding was not an issue.

"It is largely about capacity on the ground to create the places quickly enough before the winter."

"I think everyone is fully stretched getting that in place."

Mr English launched an attack on Labour accusing it of not supporting major housing development in Auckland that would provide new housing - up to 1500 homes in the Three Kings development and hundreds of homes planned for development by Ngati Paoa in part of the Pt England Reserve in its treaty settlement. Labour originally supported the Pt England plan but changed its mind.

Mt Roskill MP Michael Wood said Labour supported the Three Kings site for housing but objected to the current proposal, including how deep the quarry should be, and its connections to local community.

He also questioned whether the development would contain any affordable housing besides a very small number in an associated special housing area nearby.

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