Emergency motels making millions and set to grow

New figures show the multi-million dollars being netted by top-earning emergency motels with the Government expecting this to continue for at least the next few years, National’s Housing spokesperson Nicola Willis says.

“Emergency Housing should be about getting people back on their feet and into stable housing as soon as possible. Instead, these figures show that it’s become a get-rich-quick scheme for motel owners.”

Ms Willis says that since Labour came to office:

  • One emergency housing supplier has earned $14.7 million

  • One motel has earned $10.5 million

  • Ten motels have earned more than $5 million

  • 128 emergency housing suppliers have earned more than $1 million

“In total more than half a billion dollars has been spent on housing people in emergency accommodation since Labour came to office,’ Ms Willis says.

“The Government needs to create a plan to end long-stay emergency housing. A National Government would work with community organisations to create more stable, secure homes, instead of continually padding the bank balances of motel owners.

“But there’s no end in sight as the Government acknowledges it expects the number of emergency housing grants to peak at 170,000 for each of the next two years. That’s a dramatic increase compared to 2017, when that number was 35,994.

“What’s worse is that the Government can’t confirm the safety of people living in emergency housing as it’s not monitoring the conditions in these motels.

“It isn’t getting value for the huge cheques it’s writing, with motel owners charging more than $440 a night for rooms that don’t even have to meet quality standards. People are living like this for longer and longer, with the average stay now more than three months.

“Labour came to office saying $90,000 a day was too much to be spending on motels, but it’s now more than ten times that with no end in sight.

“This is a shocking policy failure with frightening consequences for the thousands of children who are now being raised in motels.

“Moteliers aren’t social workers and the stories we are hearing about the dangerous conditions in emergency motels are just heart breaking. The Government must achieve more with the extraordinary amounts of money it is spending. 

“The millions being spent on emergency housing would be better placed in the hands of community housing organisations who can provide wrap around support to help people get back on their feet and into stable accommodation.

“The Government needs to stop putting emergency housing in the ‘too hard basket’ and end the current arrangement as soon as possible.”

You can read the top twenty suppliers of emergency accommodation from MSD here, and an answer to a written question on the number of predicted grants here.


Further Written Question answers below:

WPQ 5749 (2021): cost per night in emergency accommodation

WPQ 6085 (2021): average stay in emergency accommodation

WPQ 5727 (2021): number of children in emergency accommodation

WPQ 5746 (2021): number of grants in 2017