The cross-party inquiry examining the deepening housing crisis in New Zealand is headed to Tauranga next weeks despite efforts by the Government to derail the initiative.
The Opposition’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says the country is clamouring for solutions.
Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford believes Tauranga has an acute housing crisis.
“We are coming to Tauranga because of the acute housing crisis in the city. We have seen unprecedented homelessness.
“It is clear there isn’t enough affordable rental housing and there certainly isn’t enough emergency housing.”
Labour, the Green Party and the Maori Party decided to go it alone with the inquiry after the Government turned down Opposition requests for a Parliamentary Select Committee investigation into homelessness.
“The fact that Tauranga has been chosen as a venue for one of four hearings across the country is an acknowledgement of how serious the issue has become across the region,” says Phil Twyford, who is one of the MPs sitting on the hearing panel.
“It has pensioners living in campgrounds, and families sleeping in cars.”
The Inquiry into Homelessness will hold it’s hearing in Tauranga next Monday, August 29, at the Wesley Centre, 13th Ave, from 1pm-4pm.
“We want to tap into the best thinking in the local community,” says Phil. “Both from social service organisations and people who themselves have experienced homelessness.
“We also want to talk to concerned members of the public.”
People making submissions to the inquiry have five minutes to present and groups get 15 minutes. Roughly half of the submitters are from Tauranga, while the rest are travelling from Rotorua, Hamilton, Paeroa and as far away as Hastings and Gisborne.
“With an estimated 42,000 people homeless or living in temporary or severely overcrowded housing nationally, this is a social crisis,” says Phil.
He says he was disappointed the Government voted down Labour’s proposal for a parliamentary inquiry.
“It’s too important to be held back by partisan politics.” And from the inquiry Phil will publish a report with recommendations, which the Government could adopt if it chose.
“But in any case, it will undoubtedly form the policies we will take into next year’s election.”
For further information, see: www.homelessnessinquiry.co.nz