The National Party calls the rising number of children mainly residing in motels to be a “moral failure” of the government. This is after 279 was added to the list of children who are living in emergency housing. This is after only three months, adding up to a total of 4512. Currently, there are more than 24,000 people on the waitlist for public housing.
Ange Tepania, who serves as the representative of Te Tai Tokerau Housing Trust, said that they are raising their efforts to decrease the number. However, they acknowledge the fact that they are losing confidence about the progress in terms of securing houses. This is especially after the prolonged restrictions brought by the COVID-19 lockdowns.
They are currently managing transitional homes around Whangārei and have experienced a higher demand than usual. Currently, they only have 56 households while up to 266 are in need of homes. The families in need are looking for ways to escape their current housing, with most of them living inside their cars, motels, or houses that are dilapidated or overcrowded. They are currently being managed by the Ministry for Social Development.
Nicola Willis, who serves as the spokesperson of National, said that the government has failed to ensure that private property can still be affordable. She said that the high demand for emergency housing was an effect of increasing taxes which then caused higher rates of rents. Most of the families who need help have also found themselves in arrears which then causes them to be homeless. In turn, she says that this caused immense stress to children who were deprived of a sense of normalcy.
Willis also criticized the government for promising to solve the housing crisis before being given power.
Carmel Sepuloni, who serves as the Social Development Minister, said that the National party list was to be blamed for the crisis for not being able to build adequate housing during their time in government. This is because their emergency housing policy started during the previous administration. Sepuloni defended their actions by saying that they are increasing efforts for housing to solve its issues.
Sepuloni further explains that they are ensuring that each family will be given adequate access to proper housing, especially for those coming from towns like Whangārei which are currently overcrowded. This is to ensure that they would have access to appropriate living conditions.
The National party stands firm in its stance.