Government called on to purchase houses for families displaced by Cyclone Gabrielle

An emergency Iwi controller says the Government should buy houses and give them to families who were displaced by Cyclone Gabrielle and the Auckland floods.  

State house waiting lists in Auckland, Gisborne, and Napier/Hastings have escalated due to the recent weather, with thousands of properties damaged by floods.

But one expert has a solution that could be the answer for displaced families.

"The properties that are currently for sale, possibly they could be purchased by the Government for those displaced families to move in straight away," Civil Defence Emergency Management iwi controller Henry Heke told The Project on Thursday.

"If we can get them right now and move them into some of these private properties that could be purchased as temporary housing, we could take away and alleviate some of the anxieties and some of the onsets of depression," he said.

He told The Project it is a national crisis.

"The scars are going to be long felt, and the wounds are going to be deep," he said.

"This is not only affecting Hawkes Bay, but Hawkes bay is going to be the one that feels the biggest hurt."

He said if families were put in homes right now, it would save them the anxiety and anguish of winter.

"I was out there the other day and there are around 107 yellow stickers and 2 red stickers at the moment," he said.

And those in the Hastings communities have been living in their Marae for over 10 days.

"We're talking around 70 - 80 whanau in both Marae," he said.

"I was out there the other day and there are around 107 yellow stickers and 2 red stickers at the moment. It indicated that whanau could either have temporary access to those homes to repair or look after things, but they can't go back there and live in them."

He said there's not enough time to consider where people are going to stay.

"We are starting to move into Autumn and Winter and there are 2000 homes without power at the moment here in Hastings," he said.

"People can't even get back into those houses to get power let alone live in them," 

Property Scouts Director and Manager Ryan Weir said he's seeing a sense of urgency from prospective tenants.

"We're seeing a real sense of urgency from prospective tenants," he told The Project on Thursday.

He said in Auckland they are finding an increased demand by 2-3 times.

"But for furnished property that increases to about five times," Weir said.

Hardest hit by the floods, the Hawkes Bay region already had a significant housing shortage.

"It's not unusual for us in Hawkes Bay to list a property for rent, and get 60 to 80 applications within the first 5 days," he said, "but with the floods happening that situation is only getting worse."

There are now more than 10,000 people displaced across Hawkes Bay and Tairāwhiti Gisborne.

"We could use hundreds or if not thousands of rental properties in Hawkes Bay," he said.