31 May 2012

Minister admits 44% of Housing NZ calls unanswered

9:55 pm on 31 May 2012

Housing Minister Phil Heatley admits 44% of calls to Housing New Zealand call centres go unanswered.

The Labour Party has repeatedly criticised the Government for replacing Housing New Zealand offices with an 0800 number, saying call centres are understaffed and callers are being left on hold for as long as 40 minutes.

In response to a question from Labour housing spokesperson Annette King, Mr Heatley says the agency received 120,000 calls in April, of which 53,000 were not answered.

Mr Heatley gave no reason for this, but Ms King says it is likely that people are hanging up after being left waiting for too long.

The minister also said calls are answered in 8 minutes 44 seconds on average, but Ms King says she does not believe that figure can be correct.