The fact that the number of people classified as homeless on the Social Housing Register has doubled over the past year alone should be the real reason for Alfred Ngaro’s recent apologies, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.
“As at 31 March 2017, there were 898 applications on the Social Housing Register where the main reason provided for the application was ‘homelessness’. That’s an increase of 470 or 110 per cent in one year.
“Those are the New Zealanders who deserve an apology, but Alfred Ngaro’s spate of apologies hasn’t been to them.
“Instead, we’ve heard Alfred Ngaro apologise to the Prime Minister, his colleagues, and even his own party’s campaign manager for the pickle his honesty has got them into. Repeating those apologies to the House today was simply a tactic to deflect my questions to him.
“The National Government have relied on organisations like the Salvation Army to pick up the slack caused by the Governments inaction on housing. And yet, the Associate Minister was so quick to cruelly malign this organisation to his National Party faithful.
“Alfred Ngaro claimed that the media were manufacturing a crisis around homelessness, but the figures show how out of touch he is.
“The doubling of the number of people who are homeless on the social housing register is an indictment of this Government and their failure to provide adequate support for those in need. Apologies cannot repair this damage.
“After nine years of this Government, homelessness is continuing to increase. Instead of blaming organisations, the media, the Opposition or homeless people themselves, the Government must take responsibility for the crisis they have created,” says Carmel Sepuloni.