Emergency housing costing taxpayers $1m a day

The extent of the Government’s failure to get on top of New Zealand’s housing shortage has been laid bare by new figures that show more than $1 million dollars of taxpayer money is being spent per day on motels for emergency housing.

The Government spent $82.5 million, or $917,000 a day, in the past quarter on emergency housing grants for people to live in motels and similar accommodation. This is on top of the $155,000 a day the Government is spending on motels for transitional housing purposes.

This is a more than ten-fold increase on what was being spent on emergency housing when Labour came into office, National’s Housing spokesperson Nicola Willis says. 

“Emergency housing has spiralled out of control on Labour’s watch. Thousands more New Zealanders are being squeezed out of the private housing market by escalating prices and a shortage of housing options.”

The Government is now contracting more than 950 motels and boarding hostels across the country for the purpose of emergency housing.

In the past quarter alone, 8503 families and individuals were forced to live in these conditions for an average of ten weeks, although this would have been longer in many cases, Ms Willis says.

“This is a disgrace. As Housing Minister Megan Woods and her colleagues have repeatedly said, a motel is not an appropriate form of housing. 

“Crowded motels are becoming hot-beds of dysfunction with families reportedly being forced to raise their children next door to gang members, drug-dealers and criminal activity. 

“This is happening on the Government’s watch and it must take responsibility for fixing it.”


  • The $82.5m spend in the past quarter can be found on page 7 of this report
  • The $155,000 being spent on motels for transitional housing purposes can be found here
  • The figure of 950 motels and boarding hostels being contracted can be found here
  • The figure of 8503 families and individuals living in emergency housing is on page 7 of this report
  • The 10-week average stay figure can be found here