Government refuses to say when it will stop using motels as emergency housing

Social Development (MSD) Minister Carmel Sepuloni is refusing to say when the Government will stop using motels as emergency housing.

Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt said in a report released on Tuesday emergency housing had breached the rights of those living in it. 

The report came just hours after the Government agreed to implement 10 actions from its own internal review.

But, in an interview with AM on Wednesday, Hunt said the Government's internal review wasn't good enough.

Hunt said MSD and the Ministry for Housing and Urban Development had essentially reviewed itself. 

"There's a place for internal reviews but they're not the same as independent reviews," he told host Melissa Chan-Green.

Sepuloni, in a subsequent AM interview, said the internal review meant the Government was already planning on fixing multiple failings the Human Rights Commission found in its report.

Among the failings were emergency housing often not being clean, dry, safe, secure or in good repair and therefore failed decency standards.

"What you'll see in the review is that, actually, we are responding," Sepuloni said. "Agree, there need to be minimum standards for suppliers - some are very good, some not so much."

Carmel Sepuloni.
Carmel Sepuloni. Photo credit: Newshub.

The minister declined to say when the Government would stop using motels as emergency housing.

"I don't want to put a time frame on it," Sepuloni told Chan-Green. "We've got to keep building the houses. 

"Our Government has taken seriously building the houses that are needed by New Zealanders. We're seeing the public housing register come down because of that, we're seeing fewer people in emergency accommodation because of that and we've just got to keep doing the mahi."