As criticism continues to pile up that the Government is running a "get rich quick" scheme for motel owners to house people, Grant Robertson is promising more houses are on the way.
It comes as figures obtained by 1 NEWS showed the 10 motel and housing providers paid the most for emergency housing have received $75 million between them since March 2017.
National’s housing spokesperson Nicola Willis said emergency housing should be about getting people back on their feet and back into their home.
“It shouldn't be a get rich quick scheme for motel owners.”
Meanwhile, Associate Housing Minister Marama Davidson has condemned some emergency housing as “inhumane”.
She told RNZ the system allowed moteliers to make a quick buck without having to guarantee they were providing people a safe and decent place to live.
There are also reports from those at the frontlines that families are being placed in housing next to gang members or drug dealers.
Speaking on Breakfast this morning, the Deputy Prime Minister said the long-term solution is to increase the number of transitional and permanent public housing.
But Robertson couldn’t pinpoint exactly how many new state houses had been built since 2017, putting the number somewhere “in the thousands” between 3000 to 4000.
Robertson said the Government is building at a faster rate than most previous Governments.
“We just can’t fathom those houses up from nowhere. So, therefore, we are forced into a situation where we use motels,” he said.
“Nobody thinks it’s an ideal situation. But … I would much rather have a roof over people’s heads than not.”
When asked if the Ministry of Social Development could be doing more to ensure taxpayers are getting value for money, Robertson said he does “have an expectation” that the housing places being contracted are of quality. He said he has kept a “close eye” on it.
Demand for emergency housing is rising
Figures obtained by 1 NEWS show demand for emergency housing is going to continue to grow as well.
Two years ago, New Zealand had 100,000 emergency housing grants, rising to 150,000 last year.
The Government said it expects that figure to rise again to 170,000 grants this year and stay at that level "for the next few years".
Last year, 123 New Zealand children had been in emergency housing for between one to two years.