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Andew Little launches first tranche of Labour housing policy; would spend $60 mln over 4 yrs to provide emergency housing for 5,100 homeless people; plan is for NGOs to buy or build houses

Andew Little launches first tranche of Labour housing policy; would spend $60 mln over 4 yrs to provide emergency housing for 5,100 homeless people; plan is for NGOs to buy or build houses

By Bernard Hickey

Labour Leader Andrew Little has announced the first part of a three-stage housing policy launch that will culminate in a major announcement on Sunday.

A Labour Government would spend $60 million over four years to fund Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) to pay for the provision of an extra 1,400 beds to house 5,100 homeless people a year, Little said.

There are currently 800 beds at present, Labour said.

An Otago University study published last month used 2013 Census figures to estimate there were 41,705 people who were completely homeless, living in motels or couch-surfing with friends or family.

“A Labour Government will provide an additional $60 million over four years for supported transitional accommodation to help get people off the streets and into warm, dry temporary housing," Little said in announcing the policy at the Monte Cecilia Housing Trust in Mangere.

“That will provide 1,400 beds or 5,100 places a year which – along with current provisions – will bring the total emergency housing available to 8,100 with 2,200 beds at any given time," he said.

"This policy – along with Labour’s plans to launch a massive state-backed affordable house building programme and build more state houses rather than sell them off – will help end homelessness in New Zealand. The homeless are the sharp end of the Government’s housing crisis. National has spent years turning a blind eye as skyrocketing rents pushed people out of their homes and onto the street."

In a separate policy fact sheet, Labour said the policy would increase the number of beds provided through community providers, unlike the Government, which had only funded existing emergency housing.

"Labour will work with NGOs to help homeless people stay housed and access the services they need. The Government must support the work of emergency housing providers by making sure essential wraparound services such as addiction, mental health and budgeting are made available," it said.

A Labour spokeswoman later said via email that the calculations for the NZ$15 million per year to generate an extra 1,400 beds a year was based on the Government's model for emergency housing.

She said NGOs would not necessarily need to use the funds to buy new houses. 

"When you aggregate the funding per place, it gives them (NGOs) a cash flow to be able to buy or lease new places," she said.

"Most emergency housing provides have a mix of rental properties and properties they own, so it’s not a matter of them all needing to buy new houses. Our funding gives the NGOs enough money to run these emergency beds. Some will buy houses but there is enough funding here for them to do so."

(Updated with more details)

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Oh dear. 41,705 homeless. Labour offers 1,400 beds, or 5,100 places a year. This is foolish, not solving the severe housing problems at all. What is wrong with these guys.


I am holding judgement and waiting for the rest of the housing package, which will be announced over several announcements through to Sunday before I condemn or applaud Labour.

Yep. Andrew Litlle's doing the 40-hour famine to end poverty.

Sorry??? It's a 100 times more than what National's doing! And their housing announcement is still to come!

Try reading the article instead of spouting ignorance.

They are not doing ANYTHING unless they can convince progressive voters like me that they actually are going to bring forth concise policy and not just more benefits, subsidies and taxing even more the childless hardworking NZ taxpayers!

IIRC Billy Connolly had the answer roughly: "Eat all the prisoners, then you can put all the homeless people in jail;do the math!!"


Probably not as stupid as the way it's being spun. Homelessness is a symptom of a wider problem as well as being a problem in itself. Reports have kind of buried the lead in emphasising short-term emergency housing over plans for long-term state housing building programme, which is the more important aspect when it comes to solving the bigger problem, which is lack of affordable dwellings for working people in a low-wage economy. Throwing away a couple of billion a year to subsidise slumlords for provision of unaffordable structurally-unsound mould farms isn't working.

Nicely expressed.

Past it's use-by date cruise ship moored in behind Rangitoto would do the trick......or lotsa trailer parks.


Or buy a large commercial office block, convert to rooms/connected rooms for families with shared kitchen and shared lockable toilet/shower facilities. Staff with 24 hour live-in social workers for each floor so that long-term solutions can be found.

And you could economise by having all the properties to be meth tested on one site.??

Crikey, can't do that, it might actually solve the problem immediately. Think of the precedent. The jobs of countless timewasters, sorry I mean civil servants, would be at risk.

You're on it Waymad - "New research has confirmed what Telegraph Travel has known about for years – living on a cruise ship is cheaper than living in London.

According to the study by the website, average monthly outgoings for those residing in the capital – taking into account average rents, utility bills, food shopping and leisure activities – come to £2,871.19 per person, or £97.71 a day.

A more cost-effective option would be a 120-day full-board round-the-world cruise, it concludes. At £10,623.75, including a 25 per cent single supplement, it works out at £88.53 per day.

It might sound fanciful, but a not insignificant number of people – usually the elderly – choose to live out their days at sea."

i think the house building policy is the important issue here, the one issue national can not deal with because it goes beyond there ideology where the state should pay but private enterprise should house. (accommodation supplement, tax advantages for private landlords)
has not worked in fact is costing more year on year (2 billion this year and rising) they let ideology stand in the way of practical solutions or economic sense

No Hidden secret that national is party for the rich and by the rich.

and whoever did not knew, now knows

Awesome!! when I move back from Oz I can leave all my bucks there and turn up @ WINZ in a hoodie saying I have not been able to find a home in Epsom or Parnell that I can afford so they have to put me up, I'll even load a matress into the rental car I got at the airport for effect.......

What's your point? Are you saying the provision of emergency housing should not be a public good? Or that lots of Kiwis would abuse the system if such emergency places were readily available?

best you stay in oz if that"s your attitude bro. we have extremely serious problems in NZ with housing right now


Instead of penalising kiwis shut down immigration. That will solve the housing crisis. It won't happen though because that would be racist and politically incorrect.

Mr Andrew Little, do you also believe that current housing Crisis / price is only due to supply or also for demand and in demand do you feel that non residence has a role in it (earlier you believed and also proved data but now have gone into hibernation of that reality).

Please spell your and labour party view clearly.

Ban Shigeru is an architectural genius with a strong anti-establishment streak. Emergency housing can be built for as little as $15,000 per home. His work during the Kobe earthquake housed up to 10,000 homeless.

All it needs is some political will.


You can't have a society where you have a young couple both working 40 hours a week to pay for their home and save money to have one or two children; while over the fence is a bum and his missus shooting out six kids in a state house, watching sky tv, smoking and drinking all on the taxpayer's teat while expecting the local school to raise their kids.

That is called Communism (e.g. Venezuela) and will lead to NZ becoming a shit-hole (like Gisborne and Kaitaia are now). Go back to the drawing board Labour.

Homelessness can be solved by providing male hostels, female hostels and family hostels. No house in the burbs and a white picket fence unless you are contributing to society.

problem is housing costs out of sync with wages. even working people often can't afford housing in NZ

its not the bottom that labour need to look after, they are all ready looked after.
it is now the middle that can no longer afford to buy, they are the ones that need a hand into their own house instead of being left to rent.
plenty of ways to solve that problem but very little political will, and if you say it will cost remember we pay 1.2 billion per year in accomodation supplements to private landlords plus the tax rebate (which the government will not release fiqures on)
if we redirected some of those funds to building and selling to FHB we would be better off as a society in the long run


Labour gave up on the middle class a long time ago. Their focus is beneficiaries and prisoners. Do you really think they will divert that $1.2 billion from paying for DPB mums and their drop kick boyfriends to live in Auckland and use it to help the working class...

Labour needs to prepare for another decade on the sidelines.

Awesome comment HeavyG. I've been pondering whether or not to weigh in on this debate but I like your solution. Labour will win no votes with these new measures. It's a different world now and they are focusing on the wrong part of the housing problem.

I think while it applies to all parties, it is Labour that need to look the hardest at who the "average Kiwi voter" is.

It used to be that the everyday workingman was not tertiary educated, and was employed in a blue collar, minimum wage job. However in the 100 years since then, the average kiwi has moved on. They are probably the first in their family to have a tertiary education, they work white collar jobs and earn more than minimum wage.

The 1 per-centers are a minority, the minimum wagers are a minority, the farmers are a minority. The homeless disabled LGBT immigrant is a minority.

Where are the parties/policies that are looking after the majority?

In times of concern - stability (i.e. the incumbent) always wins.

Labour need to understand that to win, they have to edit typodefinitively convince the average Kiwi they are better than stability. Can they do that - from the Little I have heard so far - probably not.

Some great logical fallacies there mate - helping people out = Communism = Venezuela? You may want to rethink your arguments. You seem to think everyone getting govt assistance is a welfare queen.

We can't have a society like that HG but that is what we have got and have had for at least the last 20 to 30 years.

I agree this homelessness issue would be best solved with hostels!!

HeavyG, brilliant post, you've hit the nail on the head, the more we give the more they take. And giving more simply encourages more bludges into the welfare lifestyle.

HG and ZS - there many recent examples of corporate welfare funded by tax payers. In your opinion does this also count as communism?

"The new report shows:

Corporate welfare will cost taxpayers $1.344 billion this year, up from $1.178 billion in Budget 2014

The amounts are the equivalent to $752 (Budget 2015) and $663 (Budget 2014) per household

The largest item of corporate welfare is still KiwiRail which has cost taxpayers $13.2 billion (including write downs) since 2008 with still no sign of the ‘turn around’ National promised soon after it was elected to office.

‘Economic development’ is the second largest category of corporate welfare, including a $115 million appropriation for NZTE 'international business growth services’ which saw the controversial ‘Agri-hub’ given to a Saudi farmer.

The fastest growing area of corporate welfare is the ramping up of taxpayer funded grants to agriculture businesses wanting to install irrigation."

Yep, but arguably the Government is seeking a return on their welfare payment/investment in those areas e.g. more agricultural production = increased exports and tax; a working rail system equals reduced energy costs and therefore less imports/costs (e.g. petrol).

However, I would prefer the funding was by way of loans and the cost recovered from farmers or rail users.

Great comments HG,
and I agree with most of what you said so far... just to lighten up the electric atmosphere tonight :
A person told me today that he is looking for a house to rent, asked why?, said new tenants moved next door ( to the house he was renting for 9 years) and they turned to be a gang from Otara , lol.... all the surrounding neighbours are leaving because of the noise and crap that came with them..... I bet that these guys are all sucking on WINZ tits eh? .. and certainly not FHB at all...
Labour proved that it is stuck in the old muddy tracks, cursing the NATs will not make them look better.

In your opinion does this also count as communism?

I would have to say no. It is a form of socialism however but it is done with the view to getting a return on the investment. Society should contribute to improving infrastructure. China's rise to super power status has largely been achieved through doing things like this rather than concentrating on worshiping the manual workers like they did under Maoism.

I'm far from a Libertarian. I'd use taxes to invest in infrastructure and reduce spending on the hopeless and institute a harsh regime of labour camps for the criminally indolent. I will never ever forgive them for abusing pseudo-ephedrine resulting in me having to suffer when I get a cold. In the old days I would "soldier on" after popping a few Codral Colds but now I will just take the week off sick. I didn't take a day off for eight years straight because of the old Codral Cold. Certain elements of society make life miserable for everyone, sucking up huge resources while being the architects of their own misfortune. God help them if I get a hold of the reins of power.

I would also subsidise housing for young citizens who pass certain criteria. Both need to be born in NZ or lived here for at least 20 years, be of good character and legally married. Similar to Singapore.

Legally married??!! So anyone who prefers to remain single can just go jump in the lake? So you are happy to take advantage of an uncontrolled housing market to line your own pockets, but should anyone dare to not marry they'd be dealt to in a draconian manner. This kind of is what "communism" as we see it goes in some countries (it's not, of course, it is simply totalitarianism, pocket lining by the elite and the rest doing their bidding).

Singles can still buy a house in the ordinary way as can new arrivals and those who prefer "alternative" lifestyles. The public purse is for investing in those with potential that will give a return. I want to see wholesome lifestyles and commitment if I am going to fund it.

I realise it is unpalatable to many. My alternative is the status quo with the Auckland region rapidly becoming an exclusive enclave, an expanded expensive suburb where only people like me can live. I would like to give people a helping hand up but i'm not willing to help up people who will try and bring me down, hence the criteria.

You'd do well in the halls of power in places like China, North Korea. Single people can also be low wage earners, disabled etc. Single people can be older and incapable of any further breeding, married people can be infertile, seeing as it seems to be breeding that you want to reward. Yours are the words of the entitled staring down their noses at those struggling below them, feeling perfectly justified in demanding they meet "your criteria" before you would deign to chuck a few crumbs at them, but only to the raight ones, maind.
Choosing not marry, or not being able to find a partner are "alternative" lifestyles?? Far out, yes, talk about entitled.

I am in the position I am in because all my ancestors were hard-core healthy lifestylers.
A lot of the anguish about houses being unaffordable is because young couples cannot afford to build a nest and raise healthy children. Am I right?
Also anguish about immigrants replacing Kiwis. My solution addresses this!
Those who choose alternative lifestyles can travel about and be free. A single can go to Europe (Estonia) or a million other places.

I assume that legally married gays would qualify

Only if both are over the age of 35 to ensure it's not some sort of stage they are going through. Singapore does this I think.

Hahaha I'm off out to Bunnings to pick up a bigger spade for you. You'll be able to dig your totalitarian hole a lot faster. You're welcome

Singapore seems to do okay.

You are so wrong. It is me that is living under authoritarian rule. Having to be careful what I say at all times. Not being able to buy Codral Cold. Forced to pay high taxes to enable unsuitable parents to breed.

Oh dear, the new face of fascism

No good counter arguments then?
Fascism is for Catholics really but yes I would have fought on the side of Franco.

Auckland - an enclave with no teachers, no nurses, no doctors, no police ... what could go wrong? Hubris is cheap. Humility and empathy are assets that you need to earn.

With the rising house prices a lot is talked about the accomodation supplements being a wealth transfer to investors. If house price rises stopped and rental income became the only return on investment, would investors in housing not be asking far higher rents? If there is demand and the price of a new build does not drop this would have to happen. From this view point rising house prices have become an accomodation supplement that is not directly a cost to the government, so kill house price inflation and the cost of the accomodation supplement increases? Am I correct that you have to be very careful what you wish for?

Indeed ARB, and if the Gov stops reimbursing landlords, be it in tax refunds or expenses claims, then the have to spend double that to provide housing themselves to the chronic renters in the country .... people tend to forget that there are some of us who are unemployable and are part of generations of beneficiaries .. they will never be Home buyers.

So you are calling a lot of middle class working folk on around the average wage chronic renters, maybe you should look at the stats as to who make up the bulk of the renting population rather than listen to spin claiming it's only the bottom of our society whom in the overall scheme are a small minority.
As for if take away accomation supplements rents will increase that is dependant on the supply of renters, if you are helping them in to their own homes then the demand decreases. The bad part is you will end up more of your bad tenants as a proportion to choose from to let your house too

If all there was to be worried about where housing goes were the very bottom of the heap we would have a much smaller problem, one that would not even blow smoke up the one we do have now,

maybe JK or BE should try this, many CEO's do it to raise funds and bring light to the issue

Don't you love it? If the NGO's buy houses they've just changed who's homeless!!
Stay on honeymoon Labor and Greens. Maybe when your warm fuzzies have cooled off you'll think more clearly.

Talk is cheap, Labour is a dead duck. Better just prepare for another National term right now. Life is what you make it, stop blaming the government, any government. The situation is what it is because there is no drive for change. Do you see a homeless person and invite them into your house ? most people wouldn't let them sit in their car if they needed a lift somewhere. We are all to blame for letting it get to this mess. We stopped caring about other people years ago, its an "I'm alright jack" society driven only by greed.

Carlos67 - 'Life is what you make it, stop blaming the government, any government.'

I wish I could vote your comment as comment of the week. Blaming and self pity are the worst things a person can do to themselves IMVHO. We could always throw in some exceptions as examples to make this statement look silly but I do believe it to be true way more often than not.

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Days to the General Election: 35
See Party Policies here. Party Lists here.