Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples admits he may have been irresponsible as a Minister suggesting Christchurch homeless squat in red zone houses rather than sleep rough.
Dr Sharples says there are many people being forced to sleep rough in freezing temperatures.
"A blind couple living in a garage, another lady living in a car, and if I said if there are houses that are not dangerous then they should squat in there rather than die in the car."
Dr Sharples says the situation in the earthquake ravaged city is desperate and he doesn't back away from his advice to the homeless.
"It is an irresponsible comment as a minister, but you know as the leader of the Maori party I meant every word because I've got people out there whose job is to pick up people in the street who are in a bad way, and they work non stop, and they were very emotional about their reports."
Photo: NZ Herald