National | Auckland Council

House gifted to Te Puea Memorial Marae

A prefab house built on surplus council land to highlight the need for temporary housing has been gifted to Te Puea Marae.

Government Ministers Willie Jackson and Kiritapu Allan say the Auckland Council should consider freeing up land to tackle the homelessness crisis.

The group behind the house, Build Up Emergency Housing, says the self-sufficient, stand-alone dwelling could be the answer to Auckland's homeless crisis.

They're willing to build more but say change is needed in local government.

Build Up Emergency Housing spokesperson Piet Ubels says, "We've got a crisis we haven't seen since after the world war, in those days they set up tents all through the domain and areas like that.  What we're asking for the council is to look into ways of doing similar".

Left and right wing politicians alike agree that there needs to be a more creative approach when it comes to the use of surplus council land.

National MP Jami-Lee Ross says, "One of the ways that we can help with the housing issues is to look at unused crown land, unused council land".

Labour MP Kiritapu Allan says, "Our people aren't even living in cars anymore, they're living under shelters in front of shops".

ACT Party leader David Seymour says, "Definitely.  If we want to solve the homelessness problem, we need to free up land, build the infrastructure and give consent to build more homes".

And the Associate Minister of Māori Development, Willie Jackson says, “It's time for the council to listen”.

However, the Auckland Council told Te Kāea they don't have access to the capital investment needed to tackle the issue, only the government does.

The council says they're working with a number of agencies on initiatives whic involve using public land for relocatable emergency housing.

The prefab house took two days to assemble and is complete with solar panels and independent water and ablution facilities- an aspect Te Puea Marae chairman Hurimoana Dennis says could save thousands in connection fees.

“It is a good suggestion for these self-sufficient cabins to be put on council land".

Dennis says although it's not a long-term solution, immediate action needs to be taken to house Auckland's 24,000 homeless.