People living in garages in Wellington as housing crisis spreads

It's not just Auckland feeling the squeeze from the housing crisis, people are living in garages in Wellington's Hutt Valley.

The Wellington suburb is one of several regions with a severe shortage.

Newshub spoke to Rachael St Clare, who's been living in a cramped garage with her two children.

"I've got a 15-year-old daughter who's in her NCEA here and a 3-year-old little boy," she said.

"We're all sharing the same space, the same bed, she's got nowhere to study."

The situation has torn her family apart, her partner Mike has to live elsewhere in a another garage and a makeshift dog kennel.

Mike St Clare says they're desperately looking for available houses.

"We use the little gas that we've got and drive around the streets looking for empty houses so we can go to Housing [New Zealand] to ask say oh we've seen a house mate, or we think we've seen a house."

Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt have 266 individual families on the wait list for a state house.

There are 161 properties sitting vacant: they are under repair, wrecked by methamphetamine or being sold off.

While some people on the waitlist are currently housed but need more suitable homes, 169 are in "severe" need according to Housing New Zealand.

The Hutt is experiencing a property boom, like many regions it's seeing a 'halo effect' from Auckland's overheated market.

House prices have gone up 25.6 percent in the past year. That means what was a $500,000 home is now worth $628,000.

The Hutt's housing issues are front and centre in Parliament. Labour is promising to build 100 states houses, and National say they'll do the same.

The Hutt is not alone, other regions have major housing waitlists too:

  • Whangarei: 150
  • Napier: 166
  • Tauranga: 199
  • Dunedin: 80

Winter is almost here and with the housing crisis spreading the Hutt just one of many election battlegrounds.


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