Written By: - Date published: 8:46 am, September 12th, 2016 - 139 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, john key, labour, national, paula bennett, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:
Remember John Key’s claim that all the homeless had to do was pop down to their local WINZ office to access help and how there were flying squads of public servants dealing with the crisis? Well whatever the Govern doing it is not working and things are getting worse.
Labour says new figures showing it takes an average seven months to house families who are living in cars are “disturbing”.
Leader Andrew Little said it took an average 217 days to house families who were living in cars on the state housing list. That was almost double from December 2015 when it took 108 days.
“John Key made a song and dance about how the Ministry’s ‘flying squads’ could give families living in cars immediate help. Paula Bennett claimed her policy to relocate state housing tenants outside Auckland would give homeless families a roof over their heads ‘within days’.”
“In fact the opposite has happened,” Little said.
“Written answers provided to Labour also show there are more families living in cars. In the last quarter there were 88, up from 76 last September.
“These figures show those living in tents or public places haven’t fared much better. There are currently over 75 families living in a tent or public place waiting for a state house. In the last quarter the Ministry housed 11 of these over an average of 157 days – or five months. That is up from 99 days last December.
“While most of these families are given a ‘Priority A’ waiting list status, some have been given ‘Priority B’. It beggars belief that the waiting list criteria is now so tight that even people who are living in tents in a park or a car on the side of the road are not considered the highest priority.
“It is disgraceful that the Government knows these families are living in cars or tents and is either taking too long to house them or is not housing them at all. It shows National has a fundamental lack of care,” Little said.
Housing Minister Paula Bennett has replied by claiming that the figures were not a true reflection of the reality. Her claim raises two comments.
Firstly they are the Government figures provided to the opposition. As responsible Minister shouldn’t she be making sure that the figures are accurate and relevant? Or is it just like the measure of child poverty that there is no official measure so they do not know how bad the situation is?
Secondly are we now at the stage where like lawyers and academics the Government is now able to provide us with other government statistics that will give us a counterview?
Bennett’s understanding of the extent of the crisis is, shall we say, problematic. She is quoted as saying:
There is absolutely no need for people to remain living in insecure housing. If they go to Work and Income, options will be discussed with them and if there are no emergency housing beds available they can be offered a non-recoverable grant to pay for accommodation.
There are over 40,000 people with chronic housing problems and clearly there are not enough emergency housing beds to deal with the crisis. Nick Smith has had the decency to acknowledge that there is a crisis, it is about time that the rest of the Government did the same.