Paula will pay you $5000 to leave Auckland, but only if you are homeless

Homeless people could be offered up to $5000 to leave Auckland and resettle in a state house in the provinces, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett has confirmed.

The policy was put together in the last few days and was announced this afternoon as the Government goes into damage control over its handling of housing problems in New Zealand.

Ms Bennett told reporters at Parliament this afternoon that up to 150 families could be relocated to state houses or possibly private rentals through the policy.

“I would say to those that are homeless that there is a chance that they could get a house in days if they were willing to look outside of Auckland.”

The minister said that the maximum $5000 grant was mostly targeted at people who were already in state houses, but homeless could also get access to financial assistance “if that is what is needed”.

Huntly, Ngaurawahia, Hamilton, Whanganui, Gisborne all had vacant state houses available. Any relocation would be strictly voluntary, Ms Bennett said.

If the point is to take pressure off in Auckland, why not offer $5000 to anyone that is currently renting willing to relocate?  Or is it just a matter to clean up some unsightly homeless so the stats look better? 

Labour leader Andrew Little said the announcement was a “desperate, last-minute bid by a government on the ropes of the housing shortage”.

“The Government has been so out of touch for so long on chronic housing problems, now they have suddenly woken up the day before the Budget and realised they’ve completely missed the boat, and they’d better look as if they’re doing something.”

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said the policy may work for a handful of families, but that number was a tiny minority of people in desperate need of a home.

“The minister has scrambled this together, because she is under so much pressure, and rightly so…it is another short-term, half measure.”

It is not often that I agree with Angry Andy, but he’s right.  Policy knocked up in a few days is born from desperation and is a clear admission it is expedience rather than good planning that drives this move.

It is easier to move people to houses than create houses for people.  And the unemployed and ne’erdowells can be unemployed and useless anywhere.  Except, they wouldn’t be homeless and the stats will look better.  The government will be able to say “they’re doing something”.

National clearly feel exposed here.  I suspect this won’t be the only hail-Mary we’ll see on housing.


– Isaac Davison, NZ Herald


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  • STAG

    Wasn’t something similar tried with people to encourage them to ChCh post quake?

    I seem to recall it didn’t work out so well.

    I agree, it should be available to everyone willing to move. Tongue in cheek or not.

    • RightofSingapore

      Yes it was tried. Then there were articles about how they couldn’t get jobs. Auckland can keep its derelicts, we don’t want them in our cities and towns.

      If homeless people are put into homes, it becomes harder to tell who is a homeless person and who isn’t homeless.

    • Tom

      Thats the trouble can you trust the people you give the help to.

  • meltingpot

    Lets start from scratch! Why is the Auckland housing market a crisis? I could not afford to buy there so I will not move there or look for a job there.

  • Nebman

    If it helps, I’ll stay out of Auckland for a lot less… Say $3000? I’m not greedy. Saving ya $2000 right off the top and there’s no extra housing required!

    I’m just here to help.

  • Ross

    It reminds me of a policy of a few states in the US, paying for a one-way ticket and giving someone $500 to relocate to Honolulu. It was a cheap cut for the cities paying, but Honolulu wasn’t too impressed!

  • shykiwibloke

    Angry Andy is also peeved the shine has gone off his offensive with this announcement. I don’t agree with it, but I think it’s a good political move to flank the opposition.

  • Graeme

    All the critics carry on but none have come up with a instant solution even it that is to purchase the homeless any of the hundreds of houses listed weekly in Property Press. There is a catch to that however where will the money come from other than the pockets of the critics of the Government.

  • JEL51

    I thought that Paula demonstrated complete control of the situation when interviewed by Larry on zb just now. I am guessing much of the muck flying from the media pack/Labour cabal has been directed her way, so good on her for fronting up. I hope she will come out with lots more info over the next week or two so prove the cabal was exactly that.

  • KGB

    National are avoiding what needs to be done to free up SH.
    Evict the free-loaders paying market rent in their SH ‘house for life.’
    Sure there will be outrage, but one can’t always be popular.

  • Backdoor

    Is it actually a “Policy knocked up in a few days is born from desperation and is a clear admission it is expedience rather than good planning that drives this

    I can remember there being a good deal of discussion around this idea before last Christmas.

  • Sally

    The first in line should be the family of 10. I was about to comment on the earlier post on “utter stupidity”. Why is this family living in a motel in the most expensive city in NZ without work. They should be forced to ship out to another part of the country where cost of living is cheaper. Better yet encourage to live off the land, grow their own vegetable, have a few animals and start taking some responsibility.
    A $5000 handout would have been better than the $60,000 for a motel in Auckland.

  • Deane Jessep

    Careful with the fat end of this wedge. Relocating people to places where there is no work will gradually incentivise a giant welfare state where all the jobs and taxation is in Auckland supporting people living in state houses in the provinces. The fishing in Gisborne is quite good; might make a nice break from the rat race…

    • Deane Jessep

      I just realised this is the theme from the hunger games reversed…

    • Nige.

      Seriously. The government won’t care if they have to keep them on the dole.

  • Actually I think the basic idea is good. I thought when I was in Te Kuiti quite recently how buying up some houses there for moving long term jobless from Auckland would be a good move. The town’s economy would benefit from the extra money being spent on essentials and some of those jobless may even find suitable work nearby, such as replanting forests etc. It wouldn’t cost the state any more apart from the relocation costs and would help to relieve pressure in Auckland. In my view it shouldn’t be voluntary, but compulsory if you’ve been on the dole long term in state provided accommodation.

  • cod

    I would encourage the homeless to be relocated to Syria. I would even pay out of my own pocket.

  • kayaker

    It’s a good idea, but it should also be offered to productive people already contributing to the economy. My main concern is that by just restricting it to homeless, the problem is just being moved on. Must homeless people (i.e. living on the streets) do so by choice. Many of them make a good income from it which they won’t make if they move to small centres. They’ll have no motivation to do so.

    As for people who can’t get into houses in Auckland for whatever reason and live in cars, tents, garages, and those in motels etc. etc. and who are unemployed – moving to the smaller centres won’t contribute in any way to those areas. If fact, probably quite the opposite.

    Then as for the worst ones – the P-mob, move them on and they’ll just contaminate all over again.

    Successive governments have just focused on treating the symptoms. They need to get cracking on proactive prevention at the causes level. This government is doing better than any other with trying to get people out of the poverty cycle.

    IMO, we’re now dealing with the fall-out of Labour’s socialist welfare policies, including middle-class welfare. Thanks to Labour during the HC regime, a culture of entitlement has developed. In so many cases, there’s very little will to be self-responsible – it’s all the government’s fault!

    Edit: typos

    • Nyla

      you have it in one

  • Valid Point

    I actually want to start seeing some concrete numbers around this. How many homeless are actually out there genuinely forced into that situation. Not chosen to be but forced to be?

  • Nyla

    they gave thousands for unemployed to move to christchurch and get jobs doing the rebuild … most of them scarpered with the money … I did get to talk to one that moved there to get employment and is still working and enjoying it there … as for the many of thousands of dollars assistance was wasted on those that never intended to go

    • Miss McGerkinshaw

      So instead of giving them %5,000 – deduct their rent from it. Stops them scarpering with the money and ensures they stay for at least the time it takes to use up all the $5,000

  • Keanne Lawrence

    A move in the right direction but certainly not born out of Labour and the Media party trying desperately to declare a housing crisis. Housing NZ have their work cut out with so many houses rendered uninhabitable due to drug contamination and there is no way to replace this housing stock instantly as many seem to think.
    This will have some attraction to retirees who currently under occupy the larger house and move to a safer, more pleasant location to enjoy their twilight years.

  • Dave

    I note Whanganui is an option, well done Paula, way to improve improve Auckland and Whanganui with a few moves.