Housing crisis: 'Temporary solution' of emergency motels better than a car - Jacinda Ardern

The Government would rather have people in temporary accommodation than sleeping in their cars, the Prime Minister says, as the Waitangi Tribunal is set to hear claims Māori have been let down by the Crown's inability to provide housing. 

On Monday, Government policy and its effect on Māori homelessness is being put under the spotlight at a Kaupapa Inquiry - with more than 30 claimants set to share evidence on how agencies have failed.

The proceedings come after Newshub last week revealed the Government spent $82.5 million on emergency motels in the three months to December 2020. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern acknowledged the Government needed to solve the housing crisis faster than any Waitangi Tribunal hearing.

"We need to be, of course, as any Government, held to account on our progress but we don't need to have any report to tell us that we have a problem in New Zealand with housing," Ardern told The AM Show on Monday.

"No-one would want to see anyone, long-term, housed in motel units. 

"It is not a long-term solution, I agree but I would rather someone in a temporary solution - that is shelter - than a car which is what you and I both saw in previous years," she told host Duncan Garner.  

Salvation Army senior policy analyst Paul Barber last week told The AM Show there was a need to spend the money to support people in emergency housing. Ministry of Housing and Urban Development figures showed the daily cost of Emergency Housing Special Needs Grant was just under $1 million.

According to the ministry, 22,521 families remain on the waiting list for public housing.

"We really want to see more emphasis on building more public housing and ensuring that everything is done to get that number up," Barber said.

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