Grant Robertson says 1000 fewer people in emergency housing shows Govt 'making progress' amid desperate plea from Rotorua Mayor Tania Tapsell

Rotorua's mayor says her region cannot "keep being relied on" to house those in need of emergency housing from out of town.

It comes after Newshub revealed the longest stay in emergency housing has stretched over three years, with figures showing that more than 1000 people have now stayed in motels longer than a year.

Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt is preparing to release his findings of a massive housing inquiry, labelling Aotearoa's emergency housing system a "human rights crisis".

And as Rotorua's emergency housing issue continues, the town's Mayor Tania Tapsell is calling for those moving into emergency motels to be local residents. 

"Because they do have complex needs, they need to have support systems around them as well - which come from the places they live," she said.

"We can't keep being relied on to start looking after people who come from out of town."

Tapsell told AM the longest stay in an emergency motel should be one month because many of "these motels are not adequate".

"Many of them are not equipped appropriately, [don't have] laundry facilities, cooking facilities or anywhere for children to play."

Tapsell agreed with the Human Rights Commissioner's categorisation of Aotearoa's housing system.

"There are multiple breaches and this does need to end as soon as possible."

She said her council and others across the motu have been put in a "very awkward position".

"The Government is allowing buildings to be used in a way that is illegal and non-compliant."

And the inadequate motels are not only having an effect on those who stay in them, Tapsell told AM some motels are mixed-use for tourists and emergency housing residents.

"[It is] deeply concerning for those who are turning up expecting to have a family holiday but finding people who were in mixed-use motels."

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson told AM a review of emergency housing due before Cabinet has considered the issue of mixed-use motels.

"Until Cabinet makes its final decisions, I am not in a position to comment on that," he said on AM.

Tapsell told AM the Government is currently attempting to have some motels in the region consented for up to five years, but says the region "just absolutely can't have this continue".

"Those who do need it should stay in there, but we need to look at solutions and appropriate facilities for people from the communities they came from as well," said Tapsell.

She added the "perception" of having so many emergency housing motels" in the region is having a "damaging" effect on Rotorua's tourism industry.

"We expect that if this continues as it is, we will lose $92 million in tourism spending here in Rotorua alone."

"There is a need for people to stay somewhere when they are in desperate need of emergency accommodation, but motels were never the case."

Robertson on emergency housing numbers 

Robertson told AM while some emergency housing stays have been lengthy, the overall number of people in emergency accommodation "is coming down".

"If you look to about a year ago, we've reduced by over 1000 the number of people across the country who are in emergency housing."

Grant Robertson says 1000 fewer people in emergency housing shows Govt 'making progress' amid desperate plea from Rotorua Mayor Tania Tapsell

In October this year, there were 3621 households in emergency housing, compared to 4785 in October last year.

He said those staying longer than expected, are down to "complex situations" or housing availability.

"We have been building transitional housing to support people out and then building more state housing, 10,000 extra state housing places from when we came into office. We are working on this, we are making progress."

He added the emergency housing system is designed to keep Kiwis who were living in their cars from living on the streets.

"For some people, it is complex. We have got to work with them, we have got to build more houses."

But the issue is one that isn't going to be fixed before next year's election.

"It is a problem that will take years to resolve because it was years in the making. But we are making progress overall in reducing the number of people in emergency housing," Robertson said.

Watch both interviews above.