New data reveals state house waiting time explosion

The most at-risk New Zealanders are waiting nearly three times longer for a state house, and Labour scrapped the target to house them quicker, National’s Housing spokesperson Nicola Willis says.

Data she has obtained through written questions shows that the average time to house Priority A applicants has gone from 104 days in September 2017, to an eye-watering 293 days just four years later, in September 2021.

“Priority A clients are the most in need, and are considered by the Ministry of Social Development as ‘a risk’, and includes households with a severe and persistent housing need that must be addressed immediately.

“There are now 24,456 people on the state house waiting list, compared with 5844 in September 2017.

“The Labour Government is failing on its promise to house the homeless. It’s no wonder, considering it scrapped the very target National put in place to improve results.

“When last in government, National’s Better Public Services programme aimed to reduce the time to house Priority A clients by 20 per cent by 2021. Labour scrapped this target in January 2018, and since then average wait times have increased by nearly 140 per cent. 

“The most vulnerable New Zealanders and their families are left without stable housing for longer and longer, and the only answer this Government has offered is emergency housing in motels.

“This is a moral blight on the Government. On its watch thousands of New Zealanders are being squeezed out of the private rental market, forced to turn to the state for a home.

“Despite this, the Government has continued to put pressure on landlords, ramming through changes like the removal of interest deductibility on rental properties, and extending the bright-line test, despite being advised that these moves could put upward pressure on rents. 

“The Government must stop imposing more costs on private landlords that increase rents and force more and more people onto the state house waiting list.”

An answer to a Written Parliamentary Question with the new Priority A waiting time data can be found here.