A "more ambitious, innovative and courageous approach" is needed to fix New Zealand's housing crisis, the United Nations' special rapporteur on the right to housing says.
Leilani Farha said the result of New Zealand's homelessness conditions was "not just a housing crisis, it is a human rights crisis of significant proportions".
"These conditions indicate not only violations of the right to housing, but also of the right to health, security and life."
Ms Farha said it was not clear "the Government has pursued all options to address the housing crisis".
"A human rights crisis demands a human rights response," she said.
"The Government must recognise in national law that housing is a fundamental human right requiring legal protection."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said housing was a "basic right".
"We are restoring that basic right. We inherited a crisis we’re working hard to reverse and that’s why I’m proud we’re building more houses than any Government since the 1970s."
Housing Minister Megan Woods said she had a "really frank" discussion with Ms Farha.
"She commended our Government on actually being willing to admit that there was a crisis.
"We disucssed we are currently in the throws of consulting with a number of stakeholders of what a Government policy statement on housing will entail.
Chief executive of Community Housing Aotearoa Scott Figenshow said Ms Farha's findings "reinforced the need to view good, affordable homes as a fundamental human right – and highlighted what needs to happen to ensure all New Zealanders are well-housed".
Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt said that "much more needs to be done to address the housing crisis".
"The crisis encompasses homeownership, market renting, state housing and homelessness, as well as the punishing impact of substandard housing, especially on those most at risk of vulnerability.
"We encourage the Government to consider her recommendations and address these in consultation with tangata whenua, NGOs, and civil society."