Jacinda Ardern has revealed the one good thing about lockdown - housing more chronically homeless people.
Speaking at her COVID-19 press conference on Monday, the Prime Minister said it was one of the "small benefits" of the pandemic.
"What we've found is that, of course, through the impacts of COVID-19, our access now to housing options has widened," she said.
"We have in the past used motels. Now we are able to access even better facilities than we have in the past and we're housing a large number of people who've been chronically homeless who have not been housed before.
"That has been one of the small benefits of this experience, has been our ability to get people into housing."
Over the weekend Housing Minister Megan Woods announced the Government will spend an extra $107.6 million to house the homeless in motels until they can be moved to more permanent housing.
Since the alert level system was introduced in response to the pandemic, the Government has paid for more than 1100 additional motel units for New Zealand's homeless and rough-sleepers. The new funding now brings this total to 1600 units.
"We've brought on 1114 additional motel units and we're looking to keep that supply, and a few more, on into the short-term and immediate future. So 1200 of the units will stay on stream until April 2021 [and] an additional 400 until July this year. That gives us time to ramp up our building of transitional houses and continue the momentum we have achieved in our public housing build," Woods said.
Of the new funding, $31 million will provide wraparound services to support these people's needs.
"Many of the people living in the motels have high and complex needs and it's crucial they get support. This Government investment will provide certainty for the people and whānau living in motels and the providers supporting them during this difficult time," Woods said.
Ardern said the focus will be on ensuring rough-sleepers stay in housing as New Zealand moves out of the immediate crisis.
"The trick and the key for us will be maintaining that," she said at her press conference.
"We need to hold on to that and I would expect our officials in departments to keep working with marae and others who traditionally have provided more than just a house but a wrap-around service as well."