Strong interest in homelessness inquiry

  • 03/08/2016
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 16:  Homeless person sleeping on a park bench at Victoria Park, Auckland.  (Photo by Dean Purcell/Getty Images)

Labour, the Greens and the Maori Party say their inquiry into homelessness has received hundreds of public submissions and they're preparing for the first hearing.

The parties announced their inquiry last month after a parliamentary committee decided, on the majority vote of government MPs, not to hold one.

"The submissions so far have revealed how hard it is for New Zealanders to find a secure and affordable place to live," the Greens' Marama Davidson said on Wednesday.

Labour's Phil Twyford says submissions have come in from food banks, midwives, grandparents and even builders.

"They are worried about the health of kids spending winter living in cars and garages, and the number of elderly in sub-standard and temporary living conditions," he said.

Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox says while marae are reaching out and helping homeless people, they shouldn't be seen as the answer to the country's housing problems.

"As politicians, we need to find sustainable solutions," she said.

"The housing crisis has been decades in the making and if we don't find a way to fix it soon, it will be a problem for decades to come."

Submissions close on August 12. So far, 260 have been received.

The first hearing takes place on August 22 at Auckland's Te Puea Marae.