$6m a day on housing assistance – government may as well go into the hotel business

The official waiting list for social housing continues to rise and is nearing 5000 households.

The Social Housing Quarterly Report released today showed that the number of people waiting for a house rose from 4771 to 4865 in the past three months, an increase of 2 per cent.

That is the highest level since the Ministry of Social Development took over the social housing register in mid-2014.

However, the report also showed the waiting list had decreased slightly in Auckland, where demand for housing was greatest and where the Government has been concentrating its supply efforts.

The increase is instead being driven by growing lists in Hamilton, Wellington and Lower Hutt.

Social Housing Minister Amy Adams noted that the increases in the waiting list were slowing. In the previous quarter, it had grown by 3.7 per cent.

Well, there’s a way to spin it:  the increases are happening a lower rate.   But that means that month by month we’re still going backwards.   And outside of Auckland, where the government hasn’t gone into the Motel subsidy business, it is now spinning out of control.

The latest report also showed that Government spent $8.8m on housing homeless people in motels in the past three months, up from $7.7m in the previous quarter.

That was well beyond the initial annual budget of $2m.

Asked today whether the Government had underestimated the problem, Prime Minister Bill English said there was always going to be high demand for Government schemes in a tight housing market.

So that’s a yes then.  If you blow a budget by 300% in three months, you are not in control.

Is Bill English achieving anything at all?

He pointed to the Government’s $300m investment in emergency housing, announced last year, and said it was “unfolding rapidly”.

Oh, of course.  They announced it.   It is “unfolding rapidly”.   But in real terms, no new houses.  Yet.


– NZ Herald


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