The number of people waiting for public housing has grown to more than 13,000 for the first time, despite the Government's home-building efforts.

Latest official figures from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development show the waitlist had reached 13,167 households in August - up from 12,644 a month earlier.

The record (from 2004) was first broken in June, when the queue passed 12,000.

In Waikato alone the number of households waiting for a place increase by 121 from July to August. On the East Coast it was 130 and in Auckland 83.

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The number of people receiving emergency housing grants also continued to climb, up to 3344, from 3316 a month earlier.

Associate Housing Minister Kris Faafoi pointed the finger at the previous Government for the rising numbers.

"If the previous National-led government had built public housing at the rate this Government's doing there would not be a waiting list for public housing," he said.

In the year to June the Government provided 2178 new public houses, about nine times the amount being built in 2016. It added another 224 in the two months to August.

"We have implemented the biggest state housing building programme ever, with funding committed to deliver an additional 6400 public housing places by 2022," Faafoi said.

National Social Housing spokesman Simon O'Connor says a high cost of living is driving people out of their homes.

"Rents are increasing two and a half times faster than they were under National. The Government has also scared off landlords by burdening them with more costs and raising the spectre of a capital gains tax," he said.

"Less housing stock is being freed up because of Labour's decision to cancel public housing tenancy reviews. This has increased the pressure on social housing supply at a cost of helping the New Zealanders who need it most."

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