Paula Bennett finally gets to Te Puea Marae
Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett finally made her way to Te Puea Marae on Tuesday morning after deliberately dodging it last week.
"My department has been here from the beginning -- that's what should happen and I'm more interested in the services, how we're wrapping that around," Ms Bennett said.
Last week the minister met with the marae chairman Hurimoana Dennis, but instead of fronting up to the marae she chose to have the meeting at a cafe.
Labour leader Andrew Little says the minister spent last week running and hiding from the issue, so it was good to see she finally visited the marae.
"But the real challenge for her is to get off her chuff and do something and get them into houses," he said.
The minister has certainly been under pressure with the social housing portfolio.
Ms Bennett arrived at a community meeting in Auckland last night with security personnel amid protest outside the venue.
The meeting was hosted by National MP Alfred Ngaro and included a speech by Ms Bennett and Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith on the Government's future plans for Auckland housing.
About a dozen protesters held placards outside the venue, with chants including "when housing rights are under attack, stand up fight back".
Mr Little says the fact Ms Bennett showed up with security was a clear sign of the deteriorating homeless situation.
"When ministers start having to turn up to public meetings with security detail because they are fearful of themselves then it tells you this is an issue that is a matter of considerable crisis," he said.