John Key: Homeless don't want help

John Key
John Key

The Government has this week sent its flying squads into Auckland to battle the hidden homeless crisis, but says those living in cars simply don't want help.

The squads were formed after The Nation revealed a number of people with full-time jobs were sleeping in cars because they couldn't afford housing in Auckland.

Prime Minister John Key says the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) teamed up with the Salvation Army and other non-Government organisations and hit the streets.

John Key: Homeless don't want help

But the Prime Minister says when they hit Bruce Pullman Park in Takanini on Monday night, they received a frosty response. 

"MSD and the Sallies went around and knocked on eight cars that they could find," he says.

"All eight of those people refused to take support either from Sallies or MSD."

John Key says he isn't implying people want to live in cars.

"I'm just simply saying that of those eight people that MSD and the Sallies could identify, knocked on the cars and asked them: 'can we give you support and can we give you help', not just MSD, the Salvation Army -- the eight of them refused."

But the Salvation Army is disputing this series of events, saying they declined MSD's request for them to come along

As for the rest of the week, the squad also visited Mangere and Otahuhu, finding a total of 15 cars.

All had single people sleeping in them and only one chose to engage with the team -- and the official report says that person isn't actually homeless.

But they did get a better response at the Auckland City Mission.

Across three nights, a total of 16 people from the Auckland City Mission chose to talk with MSD. Seven of them now have social housing assessments booked and four more already had assessments booked.

The official report also says most of those living in cars that were visited had jobs.