An unofficial inquiry into homelessness has not convinced the Government to take any further steps to tackle the issue.

The inquiry was held by Labour, the Greens, and the Maori Party last year after attempts to have a select committee inquiry were blocked by National.

The parties' final report in October made a series of recommendations which they said the Government should urgently consider "so that no New Zealanders have to live in garages, in cars, or on the streets".

The Social Services Committee, which considered the report, said the House should take note of it. But it did not recommend any tangible changes, saying that the Government's existing work covered many of the recommendations.


In all, the inquiry made 20 recommendations, including a national strategy to end homelessness, increasing the state housing stock, and making the Housing First model - in which homeless people are moved straight into stable housing rather than being shuffled through emergency shelters - the Government's primary response to the issue.

The committee sought advice from then-Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett, who said 16 of the recommendations were already "underway" - a response which the Opposition parties said was "highly debatable".

Bennett said the Government was considering two of the recommendations. It was reviewing the Accommodation Supplement, a weekly rent subsidy for low-income households which has not been adjusted since 2007. It was also looking at allowing non-government agencies to take on the job of assessing whether a person qualified for social housing and the referral of tenants to emergency housing.

Bennett ruled out two other recommendations - subsidising existing community housing tenants' rent, and giving greater security of tenure to renters.

Labour and the Greens said the Government's response was inadequate. They especially disputed the minister's claims that the state housing stock was increasing, and that systemic issues like property speculation were being addressed.

Progress on most of the other recommendations was "patchy to say the least", they said.

There is no official measure of homelessness in New Zealand but the 2013 census showed that 41,000 New Zealanders were homeless, up from 33,000 in 2006.