21 August 2019
Response to Minister's decision on Special Housing Area 1 Ngongotahā
Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick said the decision by the Minister for Housing and Urban Development to decline the Ngongotahā Special Housing Area (SHA) application is both frustrating and disappointing as Rotorua Lakes Council looks to increase the number of options open to address the housing shortage in our district.
“It is extremely frustrating the application has been declined. The people of Rotorua are being denied housing at a time when they need it the most.” Mayor Chadwick said.
“We have the second highest rate of registered homelessness in the country and we are bitterly disappointed the Minister declined this application”.
“It was never the intent of this developer to build on flood prone land ... the intent was to provide much needed housing for our community and the SHA process through central government was designed to enable housing.
The SHA application that was recommended by the Council for the Minister’s consideration was considered by Council to complement broader efforts to address Rotorua’s housing shortage and was supported by the full council in March last year.
“This is a frustrating decision as additional information was provided by independent experts following last April’s Flood Event, Mayor Chadwick said.
“Whilst we appreciate the complexity of the application, we consider the second step of the SHA process would have appropriately managed the risk associated with flooding..
On the wider issue of housing supply, Mayor Chadwick said Council remained encouraged by the Minister’s sentiment and will continue to work with central government as part of our partnership to explore further opportunities to increase housing supply.
“Our communities have high expectations that Council will work with anyone who can help address the housing shortage we are currently experiencing in Rotorua.” Rotorua’s current housing shortage impacts across the entire housing spectrum – from emergency and social housing to a shortage of rentals and homes to buy. Working alongside landowners and developers and partnering with agencies to address the housing issue is a key priority for Council.
Council also acknowledges the time and effort that the landowner Martin Schilt has invested into ensuring his application satisfies both Council policy and the SHA legislation.