Twenty families in the past year have asked Work and Income for hardship grants to buy tents to live in, it has been revealed.
Housing Minister Phil Twyford confirmed to Newshub the Government "has been made aware there have been approximately 20 cases where people have asked Work and Income for help to buy a tent to live in".
"In an effort to support their client's choices, Work and Income have provided that assistance."
But Mr Twyford says the Government has "told Work and Income that this practice must stop".
"This might have been acceptable under the previous government but it's not okay under ours."
Work and Income deputy chief executive of service delivery Ruth Bound told TVNZ the practice is rare.
"Our case managers help clients with one million requests for hardship grants a year and were able to recall around 20 instances," she said.
Mr Twyford says the Government is "in the business of providing housing, not tents".
"This Government won't ignore the housing problem and hope it goes away.
"Work and Income will continue to focus on finding people accommodation, but a tent will never be an option for a person that has come to us for housing support."
There are currently more than 6000 families on Housing New Zealand's waiting list.