New Zealand pays people to leave Auckland

By News from Elsewhere... found by BBC Monitoring

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image captionAround 1.4 million people live in the Auckland region, a third of New Zealand's population

New Zealand is offering cash to people in its largest city who need social housing - if they're willing to move to another part of the country.

The scheme launches in Auckland on Monday, and is part of efforts to tackle the city's housing crisis, the New Zealand Herald reports. Anyone willing to up sticks will get a grant of up to NZ$5,000 ($3,500; £2,500), as long as they're currently eligible for social housing.

The government is stressing that it's a voluntary scheme aimed at removing the "cost barrier" that could prevent people from moving to less-populated areas, where they may already have family or other connections. Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says 130 have voiced an interest in the scheme so far, and that the scheme will help people deal with "a very tight housing market".

Auckland has seen house prices boom in recent years, and a shortage of affordable housing has left some families living in dire conditions. In May, a Salvation Army spokesman said some streets in South Auckland had people living in every garage. Other families have been found living under bridges and one had taken refuge in a shipping container.

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