21 Apr 2021

National Party wants 'wraparound services' for people in emergency housing

11:40 am on 21 April 2021

National wants better support for those in emergency housing who are being put up in motels.

National leader Judith Collins  17/02/21

National Party leader Judith Collins. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Living conditions in the motels have been described as dangerous and frightening and there are warnings about the potential for abuse and sexual violence.

It was under the previous National government that motels were first drafted into use as emergency housing.

National Party leader Judith Collins told Morning Report restrictions placed on landlords were reducing the supply of rentals available and requiring the greater use of motels.

"We need to make sure that we don't punish private landlords so there are fewer houses to rent. That's important. We warned the government that some of the steps they were taking would be seen as landlord bashing would end up with more people in emergency housing which is exactly what happened.

"There is also changes to the Residential Tenancy Act which we said was going to make it more difficult for people who did not have the money to pay for better accommodation and that is exactly what has happened... it has spiralled out of control under this government's watch...

"What we have got at the moment is the government is not putting wraparound services in place for people in emergency accommodation... There's no point expecting the motel owners to be social workers.

"If we could possibly (put more social workers in place)... that is something that would be very helpful."

Motels should only ever have be a temporary solution, Collins says.

She doubted the same situation would be happening if National was still in government.

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