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Stay for 7 days, then pay - Government to start charging emergency housing recipients rent like other social housing tenants 

Stay for 7 days, then pay - Government to start charging emergency housing recipients rent like other social housing tenants 
Image sourced from pxhere

People placed in emergency housing, like motels, will need to start contributing towards the cost of their accommodation.

The Government has agreed to a rule change for it to only pay the full cost of the emergency accommodation it provides, for the first seven days. After that, tenants will need to start paying the equivalent of 25% of their incomes - be that from wages or benefits.

Tenants in shorter-term transitional housing and longer-term public housing currently pay rent equivalent to 25% of their incomes.

The Government said it was making the change to ensure parity between tenants in different types of social housing.  

It is also effectively using a stick to discourage reliance on emergency housing.

“Motels were only ever intended as short-term emergency accommodation of up to seven days, but the average length of stay has increased to over seven weeks,” Housing Minister Megan Woods said, noting there are about 4000 households currently staying in motels. 

“Without a client contribution there is a perception that people or families are financially better off remaining in emergency housing, disincentivising some clients from seeking alternative more stable accommodation,” a Cabinet paper, signed off by Woods, Associate Housing Ministers Kris Faafoi and Nanaia Mahuta and Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni, said.

“A 25% contribution will help prepare clients for transitioning into public or private housing where they need to contribute to their accommodation costs and associated costs, such as utilities.”

Ministry of Social Development modelling indicates an emergency housing rent payment requirement would only save taxpayers an average of $4.75 million a year over four years, assuming the requirement incentivises a small portion of tenants to get out of emergency housing.

The rules change is expected to take effect in March.

The Government spent $48 million issuing 30,941 Emergency Housing Grants in the three months to December. The cost has skyrocketed more than the number of grants issued, as a shortage of accommodation options is seeing more people housed in costly motels.

The Government announced its emergency housing change on Thursday at the same time it announced a $300 million investment in helping prevent homelessness.

Just over half of this will go towards the Government renting and buying houses, as well as creating villages of portable houses, to provide an additional 1000 transitional housing places by the end of the year.

The idea is that this will enable more people to be moved out of emergency housing, like motels.

There are more than 14,000 households on the waitlist for longer-term public housing.

The Government is yet to make a dent implementing the recommendations its Welfare Expert Advisory Group made last year.

The Group said: "The income support part of the welfare system has fallen behind the real growth in New Zealand incomes. 

"The fiscal cost of improving the adequacy and design of income support is estimated to be around $5.2 billion a year."

The Group said benefit levels should be increased by up to 47%, immediately.  

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Quote from Woods cabinet paper: "Without a client contribution there is a perception that people or families are financially better off remaining in emergency housing, disincentivising some clients from seeking alternative more stable accommodation"

Who is worse for wasting money, the lazy dishonest EH "client" or this dumb govt. The stupid execs are probably equally to blame as the cabinet minister but when we have one of the highest paid PM in the world you would think we would get more quality candidates than the ones we have. Get this mess under control soon before we are all bankrupt.

Well Done, a great move indeed!


Staggering that they weren't getting charged already. Basically move in for 6 months to a year and you could save your rent money.
Effectually emergency housing was encouraged and it cost the tax payer. There has to be a sacking over this.
Jacindas boat is taking a lot of water and it's the good times.


Your ideology bone is sticking out. How much were these people paying for emergency accommodation under National? This change is long overdue, but credit to the Government for introducing it, especially in election year when it may actually lose them some voters! However no matter who you are or your circumstances, people must understand that they will be reasonably expected to contribute to their accommodation costs. 25% is right in the band i have advocated that they should sit, now we need them to constrain landlords to the same limits, and prevent them from holding properties empty.

They weren't paying this under National...
Our politians are jokes!
Supply and demand will win, not contraining. Se people win, some loose.

Correct, they weren't paying under national either. So I agree, Bridges should kick Anne Tolley's ass to the kerb. :)

From what I can gather this is incorrect, National were charging them, Labour made it free which is what caused the big spike.

Law of unintended consequences, although this shouldn't have been too hard to predict.

Yeah, gonna need something more than your vague assertions on that. - several months before the election.

They were grants, AFAIK nothing has changed between 2016 and yesterday with how they were handled.

$12 million spent on Emergency Housing in 3 months sure puts into perspective the $26 million in unsold Kiwibuild houses on the books.

See my response to my biggest fan and groupie RickStrauss

From what I can gather...

"I'm making this up..."

"When motel stays were first introduced as an emergency measure to deal with the ballooning public housing waitlist under the last government some tenants were charged for the full cost, but it was later made free."

Doesn't say who made it free and when. That seems like the salient fact.

Yep, if anyone could provide that information it would be helpful, I've been unable to find it.

Hence... "from what I can gather".

I'd note you haven't demanded evidence for the other side of the argument even though none has been given.

You made the claim.

Nope, the other claim was made first.

See ya.

True, fair enough, the other person suggested the policy was continuing to operate as it had been in the past. You claimed the policy had been actively changed by the current government.

One's a claim of deliberate action.

So essentially you claimed without evidence that the government had changed the law since being in power and things were completely different to what everyone has been able to see has been going on since the previous government.

Fake news.

Yes, it's only fake news if you disagree with it.

I think your ideological feathers have been ruffled two days in a row now, falsely accusing me on both occasions of making things up.

You're projecting, and apologies if I can't recall you from yesterday. Everyone knows both governments have been spending on emergency motel accommodation. You claimed the current government changed the law to make it free but you haven't been able to provide any basis for that claim.

No need to get in a huff. Just back up your claim. Simple stuff.

Per NZDan's posting, looks like it was introduced in 2016, under the previous government.

Bottom line. Whoever did it is an idiot!

Agree. Looks like it was the ministry. Possibly didn't even pass the desk of a minister.

On 1 July 2016, the Ministry introduced a non-recoverable Emergency Housing Special Needs Grant (SNG).........Assistance is generally granted for up to seven nights, but can be extended dependent on individual circumstances. In most cases the grant does not need to be repaid.

When the proposal for the Emergency Housing Special Needs Grant was developed, the Ministry had to estimate expenditure on the new SNG. Two sources of information were used to develop the estimate of expenditure of $2 million per year.

I've seen complaints that this is somehow prohibitive on those in emergency housing. It's still cheap rent and if that doesn't leave them enough for whatever remaining bills and food then we should just scrap our entire country and throw it away.

There is a very real push for more cost effective temporary housing. From what I've seen I hope the deals go through as it'll save the tax payer a fortune and provide better accommodation than run down motels.

You've got to wonder at the thinking of both National and Labour to allow free housing and expect the situation to get better and at the same time not building better and cheaper longer term alternatives.
Will Labour be able to get these houses built despite throwing dollars at it? I doubt it!

They need a large quantity, that is physically not possible in a short timescale. They can improve the situation but starting at the end of their 3 years is a slow response to an urgent issue.

And a big buy up to keep house prices up in the coming crisis. Chances of Labour actually getting ot done.. basically nil.

Meanwhile the Reserve Bank Governor is actively working against the possibility of affordable housing for more New Zealanders...

is it not tax money, so we pay them, then take 25% back again, why not just pay them 25% less and save some paperwork

Everyone on a benefit still has a tax deduction for what they are paid. That is also a completely circular payment. Do you think that the Government has the capability to simplify and reduce the costs of its operations?

The government needs to be buying dairy farms and converting them into eco-villages for the homeless. I recently looked at a similar proposal but the dairy farm was too dirty and I have little tolerance for dirt and had to walk away.

Buy dairy farms and turn them into slums... gorgeous

But for a different kind of animal.

By eco village you mean hippie drug commune like Charlie manson style?

There will be quite a lot of low value farmland lying about once the run off legislation kicks in, some farms will be almost worthless.... It should make ideal pickings for subdivision!

Yep only 5 years to get that finished.
Not many buses out near farmland.

I disagree, there are already scoping activities underway here in the waikato to establish dormitary villages all fully serviced, its a good way to re employ ex farmland

What I can't understand is how they fit 6 to 10 kids into a small motel unit. And then there's the multiple fathers who won't wish to contribute to the children's upbringing but who may still wish to visit to make some more children.

As soon as the girls turn 16 they become baby factories for some more kids to be collected by CYF or Faaano ora

The bottom feeding breeding factories come in all shapes & sizes. Some look like houses, others look like cars. This, now emergency situation, has been going on for 50 years & worse (or better, depending on your view point) is fully taxpayer sponsored. So, we have created (underwritten) this problem for 2-3 generations & still no one can admit that we've really stuffed this up. It's almost as if someone wanted to deliberately create this situation. Just what they were hoping to achieve is beyond me. Nothing good obviously.

Wow ................and wow again , I had to read that twice !

4,000 households are living in Motels ?

thats 4,000 HOUSEHOLDS ........... implying way more actual people , given the average household is 4 or more

And getting all this for free ?

Free lights

Free water

Free Rates

Free SKY

Free bedding

Free laundry of said bedding

Free cleaning of rooms each day

I would assume free toilet paper too !!!!

Maybe even a free swimming pool in some cases

Free use of BBQ and the gas

Makes me wander what the hell I have been doing working so hard for the past 40+ years for ...........imagine a free motel in the Bay of Islands , I would take my yacht up there and sail all day long, do more fishing , I could play more golf , enjoy more time in the pub , and spend more time with the family .

You chose the road of suffering rather than just enjoying life. Imagine all the fun you would have had if you just became a hippy instead.

Boatman: re-impregnate some of these women then you can parasitically join the free-be club. But you may have to contend with other fathers of the other children who will probably be averse to sharing their free-bes.

All good points Boatman. By trying to do the right thing, labour govts since the 70s have done the wrong thing, and on a grand scale. When will it end ... never. But at least the last national govt did their best to get the mums some self-respect and into some proper work. They also sorted the ECE

What staggers me is that consecutive governments have continued with what is clearly a disasterous set of policies around housing and will not address the root of the problem. That problem being in my view that the steadfast refusal to abandon the ideologically driven market based philosophy in regards to how a person or a family obtains shelter. Look at the chaos it is creating. Its time we viewed housing and shelter as a human right, not a tradeable commodity. The private landlord model as it stands without price regulation is impoverishing people and is simply unsustainable. In the interim, I predict matters will get much worse in the year ahead. Its worse than the winter of 2016 and its only now that people have come out of the shadows that we can see the real need and levels of difficulty. Sorry to sound so grim but our society is in deep trouble and homeless languishing in motels is a prime indicator.

You know that the root of the problem is the problem, take away their ability to breed. Now get back to your share-trading and profit-driven activities that do not require managing repairs and misfits

That is ridiculous, have you got a brown shirt and a highly polished pair of jack boots on as you make your post? Perhaps a small stockpile of zyclon b ready for the day you have long dreamed about in your mastabatory activities? Wheres the evidence that having children causes homelessness?

I fully expected your tut-tutting. People who cant pay for their own kids expenses and who rely on handouts to get by should not be having kids dont you think. Offer cash incentives to have the snip and we will all be much better off. That suggestion maybe taboo right now but when everyone is even more overstretched it will be encouraged.

Free Housing via Taxes and which Government and its Members took advantage of that clause.

I did not know it had been extended to Motels too.??.

No wonder we cannot afford our Government Departments and their massive Benefits....with a Capital...B.

Nazi pig! I am from a huge immigrant family, initially not a wealthy one but now very, very well off. Go forth and procreate....

I believe in fairness and the ethos of being responsible. Nz has an explosion of those who waste their own talents and who dont contribute anything much, how far and how long can that go on. It's funny that you make outrageous hypocritical comments of nationalising assets while saying you're "very very well off" maybe you are just a greedy rich person who wants to be even richer. However congrats for your success and hard work, there are a few immigrant families I know of who fit that bill.

just because some people don't measure up to your frame of mind doesn't mean you should spit on them or condemn them to the gas chamber...shame on you. You should really try and be a better person.

I was approached last week by someone I know who has been appointed to do this work in my city.
She talked about what her job would involve. No financial support will be provided to landlords. The idea as I understand it would be she would introduce WINZ clients to private landlords and encourage private landlords to house people that they would have otherwise not offered to house. In other words if I have 50 people applying to rent one of my properties this new worker would then offer applicant number 51 for me to choose which one I took. I think this is an idiotic waste of tax payers money.

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Days to the General Election: 37
See Party Policies here. Party Lists here.