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Public invited to have say on homelessness

Written By: - Date published: 5:40 pm, July 14th, 2016 - 16 comments
Categories: greens, housing, labour, maori party - Tags: , ,

Press release from the Cross-Party Homelessness Inquiry (Labour, Greens, Māori Party). 

People who are homeless, those who were once homeless, those working with the homeless and concerned New Zealanders are being asked to share their experiences and solutions to this growing issue with the Cross-Party Homelessness Inquiry.

This inquiry was launched after National MPs turned down Opposition requests for a Parliamentary select committee inquiry into the issue.

Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says many New Zealanders are shocked and saddened by the number of families being forced to live in cars and garages this winter.

“We want to hear from those families and the agencies working with them about the best ways to support them and reduce the reasons they lose their homes in the first place.”

Green Party Social Housing spokesperson Marama Davidson says homelessness is not confined to those who sleep rough on the streets.

“There are many, many families who have no choice but to sleep in overcrowded garages, or in their cars. It hasn’t always been this way in New Zealand, and it doesn’t have to continue like this.”

Māori Party Co-Leader Marama Fox says this issue is too important to use as a political football.

“Homelessness is a blight on our society and we need to work together to find enduring solutions. This is a valuable opportunity for us to hear more from whānau, experts and those most impacted.”

 Submissions will initially be heard at four locations: Te Puea Marae in Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch between the end of August and early September.
The terms of reference for the inquiry are:

1. Consider whether the official definition of homelessness needs updating, and recommend accordingly.

2. Assess the evidence on the current scale of homelessness, whether it is changing and how, and what the causes of that change might be.

3. Evaluate possible policy responses to homelessness, including international best practice, and recommend accordingly.

4. Consider how homelessness is experienced by different groups in society and evaluate policy responses that respond to that experience. For example, Maori experience of homelessness and Maori-led initiatives to respond

5. Hear public submissions and expert evidence, particularly from those directly affected by homelessness and their advocates, and issue a written report.

Submissions open Monday and will close on Friday, 12 August and can be sent to: Homelessnessinquiry@parliament.govt.nz

Submissions can also be made through the Labour and Green Party websites from next week.

16 comments on “Public invited to have say on homelessness ”

  1. Bill 1

    Ah well. Good to see some movement on the matter, although no submissions in my town.

    Anyway, like a broken record.

    Improve tenancy rights and legislate for life-long leases.
    Legislate for circumstances whereby HNZ leases can pass down through a family’s generations.
    Cap rents in accord with a simple formula related to GV (or any other universal marker) that produces a rent too low for landlords to use rent as a principal way to pay off mortgages.
    Draft squatter’s rights legislation.
    Attach draconian penalties to properties left empty for the purposes of speculation.
    Abolish any and all ‘right to buy’ schemes.

    Alternatively, as the cynic in me might say, spend millions on public consultation and eventually get around to proposing (not doing) stuff based on a modicum of common sense.

    edit. And good to see three parties now working on common understandings. Bye-bye Winston? Hope so.

    • weka 1.1

      I came across this the other day. A partial rent strike in the 90s that apparently led to the govt changing policy,

      For many state house tenants, the new policies reduced their standards of living. Foodbanks increased in number in state housing areas, and overcrowding became a problem as some families shared houses. Mounting opposition included a partial rent strike, organised by the State Housing Action Coalition (SHAC), during which tenants refused to pay more than 25% of their income in rent.[45][46] In response, in 1996 the government increased the accommodation supplement to 70 percent, and restored the idea of “social objectives” rather than profit for the Housing Corporation.[47]


    • Clare 1.2

      Good on you Bill, that’s a “good” broken record.

      Do hope these suggestions get to the inquiry

  2. Rae 2

    We need to understand that homelessness goes far deeper than those sleeping in cars, or garages or double bunking with relatives. I consider reluctant renters, those who cannot hope to save enough for a deposit on a house to be homeless as well. They may live in a house, but seeing as they can be evicted in 90 days, for no reason at all, they are, for all intents and purposes, homeless. They have landlord imposed restrictions on what they can or cannot do, it is hardly a home.
    My suggestion is, that whatever is done in this matter, is that first and foremost, housing MUST be regarded as what people make HOMES in, not a casino for high rollers, and work to make that so, whether it be something owned OR rented. Realistically, at the end of all of this, at least for a very long time, there will be a large pool of people for whom home ownership will be out of the question. These people MUST be able to make homes of where they live.

    • weka 2.1

      I agree. Looking at what a home is beyond investment (for owner/landlord). I’d add that homes exist within places and communities, so the idea that people can just be moved around needs to change as well. People makes homes in places and have connections with them. If we value homes, then we need to make sure that they are available across the spectrum.

  3. millsy 3

    A bit rich of the Maori Party to support this, when they have whole heartedly supported the government’s changes to HNZ, and have even gone as far as to call for the state housing stock to be handed over to iwi.

    • Jones 3.1

      I see it as better late than never on this issue.

      • Chris 3.1.1

        How about putting pressure on Tolley to sort out those debts of $60k, $80k etc that people are racking up for emergency accommodation in motels? It’s completely unfathomable how the government could think it’s okay to meet emergency need by way of loans that put the poorest of the poor into tens of thousands of dollars of debt.

    • weka 3.2

      The Māori Party probably figure that Iwi can do a better job than the other government.

      When you say the Māori Party whole heartedly supported National’s changes to HNZ, do you mean just the transfer to NGO/private social housing providers, or did you mean other changes as well?

      • Chris 3.2.1

        It’s interesting comparing the difference in how the government on the one hand and the Maori Party on the other viewed Whanau Ora. The Maori Party saw it as a step towards giving Maori control over how services are delivered to Maori, whereas the government would’ve welcomed it as another nail in the coffin of the welfare state consistent with its less government ideology.

  4. Paul 4

    Give homes to the homeless:
    5 year old to PM

    “My name is Peyton and I’m going to be the Prime Minister one day,” Peyton Kauri wrote. “But right now can you please make the people that have to live in a car have a house. Thanks.”


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