Cross-party inquiry into homelessness kicks off

  • 22/08/2016
The first meeting will be held at Te Puea Marae (file)
The first meeting will be held at Te Puea Marae (file)

A cross-party inquiry into homelessness kicks off on Monday, with the first hearing being held at Te Puea Marae.

After the Government blocked their attempt to open an official investigation, the Green party, Labour and the Maori Party decided to go it alone.

Green housing spokeswoman Marama Davidson says they are ready to hear the cold, hard truth.

"We want to give people a chance to talk to us face to face and tell us directly what is happening so that we can hear their solutions," she says.

The group will also be heading to Tauranga, Wellington, Kaitaia and Christchurch to hear submissions.

Ms Davidson says it's "abhorrent" the inquiry is not backed by the Government.

"New Zealanders know that it's wrong to have people sleeping in cars, squashing in garages, crowding in homes. Our Government should have been leading and wanting to end this, but they can't even admit that there is a crisis."

Ms Davidson says they'll hear from people who are homeless, those who were once homeless and those working with the homeless.

"We want to hear the truth of the situation. We want to hear the solutions, as well as things that have been helping and working in communities, so that we can support those very projects."

The road show will continue through the next two weeks.

The Government says it already held an inquiry into homelessness and now it's onto the action stage rather than the research stage.

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says the Government is now acting on its findings.

"The housing and funding for emergency beds - we've done more of a stocktake on what is available, not just in Auckland but throughout New Zealand, because it's not just an Auckland problem," says Ms Bennett.

But she says that doesn't mean the Government isn't open to the inquiry's findings.

"They're entitled to run an inquiry if they want to, and if something new comes up I'd certainly be interested in listening.

"We've done what they're doing already, and now is a time for action, hence the money that went in the Budget and more recent announcements.

"We're a long way through the work plan and we don't see the need to go right back to that inquiry, trying to assess the problem."