Thursday, July 18, 2024

Govt to consider Queenstown accommodation solution

The Government has today announced it will look at options to address a zoning issue that limits how much financial support Queenstown residents can receive for accommodation.

Cabinet has agreed on a response to the Petitions Committee, which had recommended the geographic information MSD uses to determine how much accommodation supplement can be paid in different parts of the country be updated every time Stats NZ updates its own geographic boundaries.

“The use of outdated geographic information and classifications by MSD has seen some households receive a lower accommodation supplement than they otherwise would,” said Social Development and Employment Minister, Louise Upston.

“The issue is particularly pronounced in Queenstown and exists in a small number of other areas where there has been rapid urban expansion.”

The Government today agreed that more regular updates would help the accommodation supplement remain fit-for-purpose and has commissioned further advice on a financially sustainable way to achieve this.

“We aren’t progressing the Select Committee’s recommendation because this could require sporadic updates to the accommodation supplement in different parts of the country at different times, and the administrative cost to taxpayers of this would likely outweigh the value,” the Minister said.

“Our initial advice is that it we could align MSD’s updates with the nationwide five-yearly review of geographic boundaries that Stats NZ does before each Census.

“We know the people of Queenstown want this issue sorted after the previous government failed to tackle it, and we’re working on a solution that is financially sustainable long-term,” she said.

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