Confronted by John Campbell today after initially refusing interviews, Housing Minister Phil Twyford admitted that conditions at Western Park Village campground in West Auckland are “utterly unsatisfactory”. But the Government is doing all it can to solve the housing crisis, he added.
The TVNZ1 Breakfast presenter went to the caravan park in Ranui yesterday to take a closer look at the dwellings there, some of which cost up to $500 per week despite having been declared unfit as a place for children to live. Units have no toilet, bathroom or stove top - only communal facilities and very little space to bring children up in.
Campbell's tour, however, ended early after a property manager booted him from the premisis. He was later issued a trespass notice and banned from the property for two years.
Today, Campbell crashed Mr Twyford’s transport announcement in Auckland to talk to him about the issue after he refused an interview about the topic on Breakfast.
Campbell asked Mr Twyford whether he thought it was OK for children to be brought up in a place like that.
He responded: “I don’t think the Western Park Village is a good place for young families, in particular young children.
“I’m sad to say it is not unusual. There are places like Western Park and campgrounds all around Auckland and New Zealand.
“There are boarding houses where there are people living in unsafe, sometimes unsanitary and inappropriate conditions. That is the sharp end of the housing crisis…That’s why we are paddling the waka as fast as we can to provide better housing choices.
The housing crisis as a whole is "utterly unsatisfactory", the Housing Minister said.
Campbell then asked what the Government is doing to solve the problem.
“The Government has just put $193 million into Housing First to help the long term homeless into warm, dry, secure housing…We have the funding over the next four years for 2700 transitional houses," Mr Twyford responded.
In the meantime, he said, the Government is putting people up in motels.
“We are doing everything we can to set standards and provide wrap around support,” he said, adding that it is important families have options.
“One of the best things we can do is put money into state housing," he said. "We are investing $4 billion for state houses in the four-year period.”