Statement from Mayor Steve Chadwick




16 March 2021

Mayor Steve Chadwick says last night’s public meeting to discuss homelessness and community safety in Rotorua highlights the need to keep pushing for locally focussed solutions.

The meeting was hosted by Rotorua MP Todd McClay and provided an opportunity for people to share their concerns and views.

“I spoke to Todd prior to the meeting and look forward to us discussing what comes out of that and how it plugs in to what we are already doing,” the Mayor says.

She wants a Central Government directive to compel agencies to work together locally and alongside Council to address the district’s housing and social issues.

“The current situation is untenable and of major concern is the more than 380 children currently being housed in motels. These are not appropriate environments for children – they are ultimately the hardest hit.”

Motels can “absolutely not” be a medium or long-term solution and the short-term use of motels as emergency accommodation needs to be better managed, Mayor Chadwick says.

“I have had some very robust conversations in recent weeks with Government ministers. They have come back to us saying they support our desire to work with agencies on local solutions, but what we need is a directive to compel agencies to do so.”

Issues Rotorua faced before COVID-19 – including poverty, a critical housing shortage, community safety and crime, poor health, high unemployment – have been exacerbated and continue to worsen, Mayor Chadwick says.

“We need disruptive change to move the dial in the right direction. The regional approach Central Government agencies take is not working for Rotorua – agencies need to alter their settings and their approach. That has been a key message to ministers and to agencies. We want to work with heads of Government to develop a Rotorua-specific social wellbeing response.”

Mayor Chadwick has previously highlighted her concerns about a lack of Central Government coordination.

“We’re missing opportunities to make a difference and it has been increasingly frustrating to watch our issues worsening,” she says.

“With the right approach, the right focus and the right effort, we can have a positive impact and we’re lobbying hard to get the collaboration needed to achieve that. We won’t give up on pushing to get the change we need to lift our district out of this crisis.”

Page reviewed: 16 Mar 2021 1:00pm