Nats alone in denying housing crisis - Twyford

The Salvation Army says we've got "the worst homelessness in living memory", but the Government is still refusing to call it a crisis.

Government ministers have long refused to use that word. Appearing on The Nation on Saturday, National social housing spokesperson Amy Adams preferred to call it housing "pressure".

As house prices nationwide continue to rise, host Lisa Owen presented her with a new report from the Salvation Army that claims social housing is struggling to keep up. It says we need to be building thousands more social houses every year.

Neither the Government's nor Labour's plans meet the Salvation Army's goal of 10,000 new social houses a year over the next decade.

"The Salvation Army says we've got the worst homelessness in living memory," said Labour housing spokesman Phil Twyford, also appearing on The Nation. 

"Yale University says we have the worst rate of homelessness in the Western world…You've had nine years, and now you've put out a press release for the election saying you're promising to build all these houses? After you've spent the last nine years selling state houses off?"

Ms Adams retorted with talk of providing better quality stock, as well as newer, better configured maintenance and upgrades - until Owen interrupted.

"I just want to ascertain," she asked. "Are we in a housing crisis?"

Ms Adams said there was housing "pressure", but avoided "crisis".

"There's absolutely housing pressure, but the numbers are heading in the right direction... crisis can mean different things to different people."

Asked for his response, Mr Twyford said: "The National Party Cabinet are the only people in New Zealand who believe there is not a housing crisis."