Auckland motel owner offers homeless discounted rooms

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

An Auckland motelier is providing rooms for cheap prices to homeless families from Te Puea Marae. The move has raised questions about whether WINZ is providing enough support.

Motel owner John McMeekin is providing temporary accommodation to homeless families like this grandmother, mother, and father Kimi from Te Puea Marae.

“Even though I know that this is a short-term stay, again, I just felt so warm, and welcomed here, and that we had our own private space to just be a family for the moment.”

Coming here, I'm just over the moon, I've actually got a place to stay now.  Now I don't have to look, look behind me, and now I'm all safe now.

McMeekin is offering rooms to families from Te Puea Marae for substantially low prices.

“For Te Puea, we've discounted it down to $399.00 for a week.”

The move has raised questions from Mr. McMeekin who says there isn't enough government support from ministers like Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.

“I'm concerned that the housing crisis isn't getting enough of her attention, and we should have one person managing this portfolio and stepping right up to the mark, because, you can't wait another week, every night is cold.”

In a statement to Te Kāea, a spokesperson from WINZ said:

  • We are ensuring that every person coming to the marae has access to the right financial support and they have a housing assessment completed.
  • We have made two Work and Income staff members available to the marae as needed to provide advice and support to the people there about the benefit and housing assistance available to them.
  • As part of our agreed process with Te Puea Marae, any financial assistance will be paid directly to the people who need it.

Meanwhile, Te Puea Marae has extended an invitation to Prime Minister John Key and senior ministers including Paula Bennett to visit them.