New research showing a jump in homelessness in New Zealand is a sign that the Government’s current approach to the issue is failing, the Green Party said today.
The University of Otago, Wellington (UOW) study reveals that between the 2006 and 2013 censuses, the number of New Zealanders who are “severely housing deprived” increased from 33,295 to 41,705. The figures do not include people living in emergency accommodation such as night shelters, and do not take into account the three years since the last census.
“At least one in 100 New Zealanders are homeless, living on the streets, in cars and in garages – that’s a shameful statistic,” said Green Party social housing spokesperson Marama Davidson.
“Many of us have known the Government’s approach to the homelessness crisis isn’t working because we see examples of its failure every day on the streets and in our neighbourhoods. This research confirms that.
“There needs to be a complete overhaul of the Government’s approach to homelessness, or the problem is going to get much worse.
“Homeless New Zealanders are families and single people, working people and those with no source of income; what they have in common is they all have no certainty over whether they’ll have a roof over their head when they go to sleep each night.
“This isn’t the kind of country most New Zealanders recognise or want to live in.
“We need real, all-of-Government action, across every single Ministry, including Health, Police, and Housing.
“Every single National minister needs to be asking themselves, ‘What am I doing to address our housing crisis?’ If they’re not doing that, they’re not doing their job.
“We urgently need the Government to build more state and affordable home. The Green Party has a plan to use Housing New Zealand’s dividend and taxes to urgently build around 450 new state homes.
“The private sector doesn’t have a financial incentive to build affordable housing, but the Government absolutely has a moral one.
“Paying homeless people to move to small towns, like Paula Bennett is proposing, is only shifting the problem around the country – it’s not actually solving anything,” said Ms Davidson.