PHOTO: The Government spent $8.1m to acquire the Boulevard Motel on Rotorua’s Fenton St. Photo: Benn Bathgate.
There are few places as culturally Kiwi as Rotorua. It’s also a city of adventures like the luge, mountain-biking and hot pools.
But it’s also becoming known as a hotspot for emergency housing.
Housing Minister Megan Woods describes it as a “short- to medium-term solution” – but it’s one that’s costing the country millions more every year.
The cost of emergency motels has risen from just $6 million in the final quarter of 2017 to $19 million in 2018. That grew again to $48 million the next year and $82 million in 2020.
Then, in the past three months of last year, costs rose to $109 million – an increase of about $27 million in just a year. Overall in 2021, the cost was in excess of $350 million.
Woods was in Rotorua on Thursday opening a new housing hub. It’s a one-stop-shop for people to visit when they need a home.
But Rotorua’s not the only place with this problem.
Paora Hekenui is one of 10,000 Kiwis living in a motel room tonight. He’s been in three emergency houses in the last three months alone and told The Hui the Government’s short-term solution puts people like him in survival mode.
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