The public housing waiting list has increased 26 per cent in the past three months - the largest increase in four years.

Figures released today as part of the Housing Quarterly Report and Housing Regional Fact sheets showed there were 7890 households in need of public housing and a further 1805 households waiting to be transferred from their existing public house.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said the Government would be making a major investment to tackle the national housing crisis in the budget announced on Thursday.

"The waiting list for public housing – there are now 9695 households seeking help – is yet another sign of the depth and extent of the crisis," he said.


"We are committed to building more state housing, and providing more public housing places, more support for people in urgent need, and more support for the most vulnerable and homeless New Zealanders."

The Ministry of Social Development was working closely with the housing sector around the country this winter to identify more opportunities for additional housing, Twyford said.

"We want every New Zealander in need to have a warm, dry, safe accommodation, especially over the coming winter months. At this time of year no family or individual should be living in a car.

"Our Government is committed to making more public, emergency and transitional housing available throughout New Zealand. Only when more housing becomes available can we reduce the numbers of people on the state house waiting list."

Housing results at a glance:

• Social Housing Register - The increase of 26 per cent this quarter is higher than the December 2017 quarter, which saw an increase of 5 per cent over the quarter ending September 2017. The increase this quarter of 1970 applications reflects wider market conditions with housing costs increasingly unaffordable for many New Zealanders, evidenced by an increase in the number of applications lodged by people who do not receive financial assistance from MSD (up 54 per cent)

• Applicants housed - Over the quarter, 1568 applicants from the Social Housing Register were housed, with an average time of 64 days to house. This is a decrease of 6 per cent and on average six days longer, when compared to the number of applications housed in the December quarter.

• Housing Support – For the March 2018 quarter MSD spent $572 million on housing support. This year MSD will spend around $2.3 billion on providing New Zealanders with housing support, ranging from places in emergency accommodation and transitional housing, through to financial support to remain housed in the private housing market.

• Public Housing Supply - The total number of Income Related Rent Subsidised tenancies increased by 488 over the quarter. There are currently 66,582 public houses. Of these, 61,338 state houses are provided by Housing New Zealand and 5244 community houses are provided by 31 registered Community Housing Providers.


• Public Housing Demand – Compared with the same time last year, there has been an increase in the number of Social Housing Register applicants in Wellington Metro (up 613 main applicants, or 94 per cent), Auckland (up 1500 applicants, or 57 per cent), and Christchurch (up 178 main applicants, or 33 per cent), with most of the increases in all of these areas occurring over the last quarter.

• Housing First - MSD has contracted five service providers to support 472 chronic homeless rough-sleepers to access secure housing. As at 31 March 2018, 215 households have been placed into secure accommodation in the public and private housing sector.

• Transitional Housing - An additional 211 transitional housing places became available in the quarter, with a total of 2112 places now tenanted or available for tenanting. We continue to work towards our target of 2155 places, which could support 8620 families each year.

• Emergency Housing - MSD has seen a 1 per cent decrease in the number of Emergency Housing Special Need Grants being granted, albeit with a 2 per cent increase in the number of individuals accessing the assistance.