MPs not surprised homeless rejecting help

Nikki Kaye (Simon Wong)
Nikki Kaye (Simon Wong)

National MP Nikki Kaye says it's not surprising the Government's 'flying squads' of social workers' first week hunting the homeless was a fizzer.

Not because they couldn't find any homeless people -- they just don't want the Government's help.

"As the MP for Auckland Central I've done quite a lot in terms of people who have been homeless," she told Paul Henry on Friday.

"I haven't knocked on a car but I have gone down and visited Wynward Quarter, people have been in caravans and things down there.

"I've literally had people in my office and they've said for various reasons, that's where they want to be. Sometimes there might be mental health issues, sometimes there might be a range of other reasons why they temporarily want to be somewhere."

The Government has offered $5000 to homeless and state housing tenants if they move out of Auckland. Flying squads have been approaching people sleeping in cars over the past week, but they've found only one person willing to talk with them -- and they're not even homeless.

"It's really complex, people have many different situations," says Ms Kaye.

Labour deputy leader Annette King, also on Paul Henry, said it's not that they want to live in a car -- but it might be preferable to having the Government all-up in your business.

"If someone came and knocked on you sitting in your car or lying in your car, and they were a Government official, I suspect you might tell them you don't wish to talk to them."

New census data shows there are possibly nearly 50,000 homeless in New Zealand, up more than 60 percent since 2001.