Emergency housing in NZ cost $83 Million in the last 3 months! This is up from $8 million per quarter in 2017. Some motels are making a “killing”! The following explains TRM’s management policy, just in case you imagine SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed manages everything at TRM) has got it all wrong?
The situation looks grim. There are over 19,000 on state housing waiting lists and over 4,000 are in “emergency accommodation” – i.e. motels. There are a total of over 3,500 “clients” in transitional housing places across the country. The pressure will increase as the Government promises it will deliver 18,000 additional houses by 2024 which includes buying and refitting motels. OK? Therefore the purchase price of a motel complex is very competitive when analysed to a price per unit compared to other housing.
The latest MBIE data for September (including managed isolation and quarantined guests) represented an average occupancy rate of 39%. Around 10% of all core tourism properties are closed and had no guests during September. (SWMBO could not survive at 39% occupancy!)
Meanwhile TRM continue to receive regular requests for emergency accommodation from WINZ/MSD-type “clients”. They are easily recognised when they request two or three weeks and never ask the $ room rate! TRM have recently been questioned for refusing their applications with criticism – accused of being selfishly selective – which deserves response.
TRM are targeted as it has older style low density with larger family units offering more spacious living accommodation. Every unit has under cover parking and fully equipped kitchens with full sized ovens, fridge freezer units, microwaves, etc. particularly to cater for fishos wanting to stay several weeks every year. Many of them from across the ditch are missing in action this season so the continual requests to provide “emergency housing” have continued.
It is understandable or simple economics in other motels which have been left struggling to survive with the lack of tourist traffic. When MSD clients need emergency housing they cannot afford not to open their doors. The “clients” are allowed to choose the motel which suits them best.
TRM’s first WINZ client last year booked a studio through the iSite for one week. As it was quiet at the time the room rate was reduced by 20% and she was upgraded into a larger one bedroom unit. After booking in, the rest of her whanau moved in with two large guard dogs for the rest of the week. It was a disaster.
When we visited the local WINZ office to request their help to remove them they denied any responsibility claiming the guest had booked through the iSite. When their culpability was questioned they called their security guards and I was “escorted” off the premises. Unbelievable!
During the difficult covid lockdown period TRM remained open and reluctantly accepted two other desperate cases. Both had unfortunate issues which were incompatible with other fishy guests, who advised they would not return if TRM was going to accommodate these emergency guests. We had to agree with them. After property damage and thefts they were both forced to leave anyway.
So for an obviously selfish reason TRM have continued their “no-WINZ” clients policy. We trust you can understand why. It is hard to believe how other motels persevere with them at all. In Taupo and Rotorua we know of massive motel price hikes to compensate for the anticipated damage and trouble, but that is not our style. TRM management and inmates prefer the motel to be half empty to enjoy the jovial considerate company of anglers instead. It is such a cruel world out there.
Kerre McIvor: Predictable howls of outrage over new accommodation expense
Author Kerre McIvor, Publish Date Thu, 22 Oct 2020,
Housing was a big talking point in this year’s election, just as it was in the 2017 election and deservedly so.
There were 19,438 on the State House waiting list, up from 5,844 applicants on the Housing Register at the end of the month before the change of Government. And more than four thousand people are in emergency accommodation in motels. The situation is dire and not helped by the fact that a number of private landlords have left the property market, leaving charity providers and the state to pick up the slack.
Again, the unintended consequences of good intentions. The Ministry of Social Development has started charging people in motels and other emergency accommodation a fee for the roof over their respective heads – 25 per cent of their income. And predictably, this has brought howls of outrage from charity groups.
They say it’s taking from the poor and giving to the rich and that most people in emergency accommodation were on benefit payments which were already low and those payments will now be cut by a quarter. However, the policy change brings emergency housing into live with other state funded housing like transitional homes and state houses.
In part to its designed to recoup some of the costs associated with emergency housing – which has cost the country 83 million dollars for the last three months alone – up from 8 million per quarter in 2017. It’s an eye watering amount of money which I’m sure few of us would begrudge if it was being spent to house humans in their own, sustainable, long term healthy home.
But it’s not. It’s being spent keeping them, basically in holding cells, until the government comes up with a plan for housing that actually works. And I’m sure it’s going to be tough seeing your income go down by a quarter – but surely if you are one of those in the motels, who’s been paying nothing for months, you’re going to have to learn how to budget for rent sooner rather than later.
Otherwise you’re only going to come to grief when you are finally put into a home of your own. There needs to be a plan to immediately find permanent, or semi-permanent solutions for these people. We simply cannot keep spending 83 million dollars every three months for what is, in effect, nothing. No change. No benefit. No improvement. Dear me. A year of those payments would buy 4000 houses at market rates around the country. Problem solved.