Hon Murray McCully, Minister of HousingHousing
Housing Minister Murray McCully described the use of figures in the Alliances press release on waiting lists as misleading. "The fact of the matter is that genuine emergency housing needs are attended to within hours, not days," said Mr McCully.
"Any applicants in immediate housing need are housed ahead of all other applicants.
"Latest information received from Housing New Zealand shows of all priority applications received in December, 47% were housed in the same month, while 70% had been offered properties.
"Waiting lists are not a good indicator of the level of housing need. The fact that an applicant may have priority status is not a reliable indicator of their immediate housing need. Some applicants have very precise housing specifications and may decline several offers made by Housing New Zealand.
"In fact, the report referred to by the Alliance specifically says:
The quarterly results show a marked improvement in the proportion of high priority applicants allocated a tenancy. During the September 1996 quarter, HNZ allocated tenancies to 1.2 times the number of emergency applications received. This rate has steadily risen over the last two years. During the September 1994 quarter, HNZ allocated tenancies equal to 51% of the emergency applications received in that period .
"The report goes on to say that the results are a marked improvement in the proportion of priority applicants who are offered a tenancy.
"Also, the Alliance may not be aware that:
current reporting does not take into account priority changes which occur during the waiting period. For instance, if someone is on the regular waitlist for three months, and is recoded emergency one month before accepting a tenancy, they will appear to have been on the emergency list for four months
the national data neither takes into account regional differences nor does it indicate how many properties have been declined before one is accepted."