Cyclone Gabrielle: Government expecting thousands of Kiwis will need to find new homes

With the devastation from Cyclone Gabrielle so widespread, the Government's expecting thousands of New Zealanders will need to find new homes.

One-thousand from Auckland's anniversary floods need temporary homes, and that's without taking Gabrielle into account.

"It will likely be a very high number, thousands," said Steve Watson, from the temporary accommodation service at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. 

But already there's a severe housing shortage. 

In the regions hardest hit by the back-to-back climate disasters, the state housing waitlists are long.

There are almost 7500 families waiting in Auckland, 567 in Gisborne, 57 in Wairoa, nearly 1400 families between Napier and Hastings and 66 families waiting in central Hawke's Bay.

State housing is clearly not an option, so temporary housing it is.

"There are a range of different options here. For example, you have Airbnb accommodation that's not going to be used immediately," said Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

"What we look to do is to find suitable land to build temporary accommodations and temporary villages on," said Watson. 

After the Christchurch quakes, families who'd lost everything were given portacoms. Some lived there, crammed in, for years.

When the Kaikoura quake levelled homes, a temporary village with prefab homes was built.

"Sometimes it's up to 18 months to two years until their homes are being repaired so they need to be warm, safe and dry and fit for purpose," said Watson. 

"We need to prioritise making sure that we can rebuild homes and houses that are in this area so we can shorten some of those timeframes," said Robertson.

It's not just the thousands who've lost their homes who need new ones. All the construction workers needed for the rebuild will need somewhere to live too, putting pressure on a rental market already in crisis - now with another crisis stacked on top.