Is there a housing crisis? John Key fails to say yes or no after being put on the spot

It's the term on many New Zealanders' lips, but seems to be the one Prime Minister John Key just can't bring himself to say.

The PM was asked a simple question on Breakfast, but didn't appear keen on a straight answer. Source: Breakfast

Rising property prices, construction struggling to keep up with demand and a lack of social housing for those in need has many saying there is a housing crisis in New Zealand.

However, Mr Key and many of his MPs are doing all they can to avoid labelling it so.

Speaking on TVNZ's Breakfast this morning, Mr Key admitted there are plenty of issues, but chose a different C word to describe it.

"There are plenty of challenges in housing, and there have been for quite some time," he said.

Mr Key said the Government had implemented a "comprehensive response" to housing, including increasing construction from 9500 homes a year to around 13000.

In terms of housing for those struggling, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett yesterday admitted there was a "housing crisis" for those without one.

More than 4000 people are waiting for social housing, and many people are living in cars and garages.

Mr Key said there were people living in garages when he was door knocking in 2002, and that Ms Bennett's comments were referring to one specific case.

He still wouldn't call it a crisis, however.

"She was asked a question about a person in a car, and for that person, yes, obviously that's a dire situation."