Revealed: The multimillion-dollar cost of the Government's emergency motel policy

Newshub can reveal the multimillion-dollar extent of the Government's emergency motel bill and just how much Kiwis are forking out to some of the top earners.  

One motel made $6 million off the Government last year, charging much more for rooms than it normally would. 

In the three months to December 2017, the Government spent $6.6 million on motels. By the following year it more than tripled and just keeps growing. 

In the same period last year, the Government spend skyrocketed to $82.5 million on motels.

Rental prices are out of control in New Zealand, leaving many to seek emergency accommodation.

Salamasina has just moved into Oakwood Manor with her one-year-old. Emergency housing accommodation is a last resort. 

"Before moving here we were trying to find a rental and a friend to stay with so they could help pay," she told Newshub. 

Newshub can reveal the top 10 earning motels collectively raked in $40 million of Government cash in just the last year - the top three charging more than $5 million each. 

"I don't blame the motels," says National's housing spokesperson Nicola Willis. "If I was a motel owner and I saw this Government coming, I might try it on too."

The number one earner, MCentral Apartments in Manukau, was paid $6 million - an average of $444 a night. It's advertising rooms to the public starting at $170. 

"We have to charge more than we charge corporates because there's more damage to deal with, there's more hassle to deal with, it's just more difficult," said a director who spoke on the condition he wasn't named.

"It's part of the sort of 'danger money' that we factor into it."

It's danger money or no deal.

"We wouldn't house them, we wouldn't bother, it just wouldn't be worth our time because of the amount of hassle," he said. "Some accommodation providers just refuse to deal with them at all."

And those that do, charge through the nose.

"I think all accommodation providers do charge a higher rate, I mean we're charging the same market rate that other providers charge," he said. 

It's news to Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni.

"If there are issues with regards to whether or not they are charging more to [Ministry of Social Development] clients than they would to be to others, then yes it should be looked into," she told Newshub. 

"I'm going to explore this."

Sepuloni could ask the Associate Minister of Housing with responsibility for homelessness, Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson, to shoulder the load. 

But in the five months that she's been a minister, Davidson hasn't taken a paper to Cabinet committee or issued a press release. 

"Not yet," she said, adding that she's been engaging with the community. 

Newshub checked Davidson's latest ministerial diary. In January there were just two housing entries - a couple of interviews. 

She walked away when pressed on what work she's been doing in housing.