More than 11,000 people still on the waiting list for social housing

The Government is defending a "small quarterly increase" in the wait for social housing despite a 40 percent hike from the same time last year.

In total, 11,067 people remain on the waiting list for state and community-provided housing.

The list also grew by three percent in the last quarter to March, a statement from the Government said.

But Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said the Government remains committed to addressing New Zealand's long-term issues.

"It's going to take a concerted effort over many years to end homelessness.

"The housing crisis was created over a decade and isn't going to be fixed overnight."

Twyford said the latest figures from the Public Housing Quarterly Report for March 2019, released on Tuesday, shows "the number of public housing places available rose by 255 to 68,280".

"This is an increase of 1698 homes over the past 12 months for families in need.

"Housing need often rises as we get into the colder months when substandard housing begins to harm the health of children."

The Government has increased the number of transitional housing places by 979 since taking power. It also expanded Housing First from Auckland to Tauranga, Hamilton and Christchurch in 2018, and Rotorua last month.

"So far, 720 households have been housed through the Housing First programme," Twyford said. "Including 452 children in Auckland alone - enough to fill an entire primary school."

The National Party says the Government has underestimated the situation.

"The Government's policies are directly contributing to this rise both in numbers and wait times," associate spokesperson for housing Simon O'Connor said.

The Government should shift its focus to state housing instead of KiwiBuild, Auckland Action Against Poverty coordinator Ricardo Menendez March told Stuff.

On Monday, a KiwiBuild spokesperson said nationwide, 83 homes have been completed, 78 have been sold, and nearly 400 are under construction.

The Government had promised to partner with the private sector to build 100,000 affordable homes between 2018 and 2028; half of them in Auckland, and only New Zealand citizens or permanent residents would be eligible.

"We are going through the process of a reset around the KiwiBuild programme," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said earlier this month, adding her Government remained committed to building affordable homes.


Contact Newshub with your story tips: