Many Northland motels suitable for providing temporary accommodation do not accept homeless families referred to them by the Ministry of Social Development for too long, if at all.

A number of reasons including smaller rooms unsuitable for families, catering exclusively for corporate clients, not prepared to let rooms for longer than one week, or bad experiences with homeless families in the past were given by motel operators for not accepting Work and Income (Winz) referrals.

Some operators such as Kevin Sharrock of Central Court Motel on Otaika Rd, Whangarei, accept homeless families from time to time depending on availability.

He currently has a father and son who will check out tomorrow after staying for two weeks.


"We have taken people with Winz referrals overtime but we're a busy motel and people generally like to stay for seven days."

Most of the 22 rooms are currently being occupied by road construction workers, he said.

A woman who runs the Cypress Court Motel on Kamo Rd said she did not normally accept Winz clients but has allowed one person with children to stay for between three and four weeks. The motel catered mostly for corporate clients, she said.

Another motel operator in Whangarei who did not want to be named said a few homeless families spoilt it for others.

"They trash the place. We've had inquiries from people who come in and when we say we don't accept Winz quotes, they become abusive," she said.

An operator in Kaitaia said a grandmother with four children was one of the only two homeless families she had taken in over winter.

"A lot of motels don't do them because Winz quotes have to be cheaper than the usual rates which means we aren't making much money from taking them.

"I don't mind if they stay during the quiet season although I've had a couple who moved in before Christmas last year and stayed for six months."