New Zealand's housing crisis: The struggle to make rent

New Zealanders grappling with increasing rents, homelessness and overcrowding are suffering through a human rights crisis, according to a United Nations expert.

One of those struggling is Kelley-Ann Adams, who lives in an Upper Hutt house with her teenage daughter and dog Khloe, paying $500 a week in rent.

"I cannot afford it. I just can't. I'm drowning at the moment with lack of money," Adams told Newshub.

For the first time in her life, she's had to use a foodbank. 

"It's been embarrassing, to be honest. I broke down the other day, because I had no gas in my car. It's hard."

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Housing Leilani Farha says it's worse than a housing crisis.

"What you have happening here is a human rights crisis," she said on Wednesday.

She said the "human rights crisis" has impacted the most marginalised - including Maori, Pasifika, those from the LGBT community, immigrants, single parents and people with disabilities - the greatest.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern defended the Government's record on Wednesday when faced with questions over whether she allowed a human rights crisis of significant proportions to continue under her watch.

"Absolutely not. From the moment we took office we've worked to reverse the housing crisis we inherited," Ardern said.

Farha's report argues the Government should increase benefits to cover the cost of living, enshrine the right to housing in law and introduce a capital gains tax.

Introducing a capital gains tax was suggested by the Tax Working Group but the Prime Minister ruled it out in April 2019 because of backlash.

The Government was on the defensive in Parliament, continuing to blame the former National-led Government for the housing crisis.

"If that Government built houses at the rate of this Government we would not have the waitlist we currently have," Ardern said in the House. 

You can read more about the United Nations report on the housing crisis here.