FactCheck News Media

Has NZ’s state housing waiting list risen under the Labour coalition?

2020-09-24 16:56:26

AAP FactCheck Investigation: Are there 20,000 people on the state housing waiting list in New Zealand, up from 5,000 at the end of the last National government?

The Statement

“(There are) 20,000 more people now on the state house waiting list, up from 5,000 when we left government.”

Judith Collins, NZ National Party leader, September 22, 2020.

The Analysis

National leader Judith Collins says the number of people on New Zealand’s state housing waiting list has ballooned under the Labour-led government.

Ms Collins went head-to-head with Labour leader, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, in TVNZ’s first leaders’ debate in the lead-up to New Zealand’s general election on October 17.

Debating the public housing situation in New Zealand on September 22, Ms Ardern said more social housing was required.

“… We need to keep rebuilding our state housing stock. We’ve a plan to add an extra 8000 to those we’ve already built…” she said. (video mark 50min 41sec)

Later in the broadcast, Ms Collins said New Zealand had “… 20,000 more people now on the state house waiting list, up from 5,000 when we left government…” (57min 52sec)

AAP FactCheck examined Ms Collins’ claim there are 20,000 people on the state housing waiting list in New Zealand, up from 5,000 at the end of the last National government.

According to the NZ Ministry of Social Development, applicants not currently in public housing who have been assessed as eligible, and who are ready to be matched to a suitable property, are included in the Housing Register.

Ms Collins said there were 20,000 applicants on the waiting list, but the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development’s most recent monthly public housing update, covering to the end of July, put the exact figure at 19,438 applicants. That’s an increase of 918 from the month before.

The last National government ended on October 26, 2017. It was replaced by the Labour-led government.

In the last quarterly figures before the change of government, as at September 30, 2017 – there were 5,844 applicants on the Housing Register.

Ms Collins claimed there were 5000 people on the state housing waiting list at the end of the last National government. However, there were 5,844 applicants on the Housing Register at the end of the month before the change of government.

Housing in central Wellington
 There are 19,438 people on New Zealand’s Housing Register, according to the July 2020 update. 

The Verdict

AAP FactCheck found the statement that there are 20,000 people on the state housing waiting list in New Zealand, up from 5,000 at the end of the last National government, to be somewhat true.

Ms Collins was close to the mark with both figures she quoted, but not 100 per cent accurate.

Somewhat True – A part or parts of the claim are accurate but there is also a problem or inaccuracy.

* AAP FactCheck is accredited by the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network, which promotes best practice through a stringent and transparent Code of Principles. https://aap.com.au/