Economic Development Minister David Parker became emotional when remembering the plight of an 11-year-old girl whose family was living in her car last year outside a marae.
Mr Parker was delivering a post-Budget speech when he told the audience about an interview conducted by John Campbell of Radio New Zealand last year.
The interview focused on T.A, an 11-year-old girl whose family could not afford proper housing and had been taken in by Te Puea Marae.
"The hardest part is actually not being able to read in the van, because you don't have space. They're all up in your face," she told RNZ.
"And there's not much light because it would waste the battery [so] I can't read."
"I don't know about you," Mr Parker said, "but when I heard that about a year or two ago ... I heard the story, it actually still brings me to tears, of that girl doing her homework by the light of a van.
"I mean ... really ... in New Zealand ... excuse me."
Mr Parker said he believes the 2018 Budget is "turning the tide on poverty" in New Zealand.
Housing was allocated $634 million in operating funds to increase housing by 6,000 homes over the next four years, to provide more transitional housing "and help for the homeless and offer grants for insulation and heating".
KiwiBuild was previously given $2.1 billion in the government's mini-Budget and in a pre-Budget announcement, $100 million was given to tackling homelessness.