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Homelessness soars as housing crisis deepens

It is an utter tragedy that there are 41,705 people homeless in New Zealand and the Government must take urgent action to change the direction our country is heading in, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.

“The number of homeless has soared by 25 per cent since 2006, according to new analysis released by Otago University today. One per cent of New Zealanders are now homeless.

“That is a population the size of Whanganui living in cars, garages, camping grounds, on the streets or forced to live with friends and family in severely overcrowded houses.

“No New Zealander wants to see children growing up in these conditions. We are a better country than this.

“The Prime Minister’s flippant remarks yesterday that eight families sleeping in their cars had denied support shows how completely out of touch he is.

“This problem is only going to get worse when the Government is selling off state houses instead of building more and standing by while skyrocketing house prices shut families out of home ownership and push up rents.

“The funding the Government offered in last month’s Budget is only enough to cover 800 places at a time and will go towards mostly existing beds. This is woefully short of what is needed.

“John Key has said people living in cars and garages is ‘not the New Zealand we want’.

“But this is the New Zealand that his Government has created,” Andrew Little says.