Work on Rotorua housing solutions gains traction
Work on Rotorua housing solutions gains traction
The Government's commitment to housing solutions for Rotorua will enable the community to also tackle other issues of concern such as inner city safety, Mayor Steve Chadwick says.
Housing Minister Megan Woods, speaking at Tangatarua Marae at Toi Ohomai in Rotorua today [26 February 2020], confirmed the Government is working with Rotorua Lakes Council and Te Arawa on a housing response, with an initial focus on emergency housing [see news release from Minister Woods below].
Mayor Chadwick says today marks an important milestone, providing further traction for the work already underway with Te Arawa iwi, Government agencies and other stakeholders to deliver solutions to address Rotorua's critical housing shortage.
"With a focus on emergency housing, today's announcement is reassuring for our community. We are all worried and anxious. We are a caring community and I always hear how we need to support and walk beside the genuine homeless," the Mayor says.
"What we have learnt over these last four months as we work on solutions, is that there is no silver bullet or magic wand.
"We need long-term solutions and we support the options Government will provide for people in our community who are homeless.
"We don't support options for people who want to live a homeless lifestyle and there is also no tolerance in our community for any disorderly behaviour of any type. We have all heard about and seen what has been happening.
"Among other things, today's announcement will remove the need for an emergency shelter in our inner city but there is more to do: we need more community police and we need more community mental health services to treat drug and alcohol abuse, family violence and other addictions."
Liveable communities, with housing as a key component, is a priority for Council and simply providing homes won't be enough, Mayor Chadwick says.
"We want to ensure people have homes that match their needs and that they have access to services and amenities they need to be supported, connected and resilient.
"We also need to address infrastructure to enable housing development, will work with our construction and building sectors to ensure they are resourced and ready, and need funding and investment to support and enable delivery.
"So a lot of things need to align - but we are making good progress and today is another crucial step to delivering initiatives that will provide options for all. We look forward to sharing details of projects and initiatives as they are finalised in the coming months and beyond."
Mayor Chadwick says a partnership approach is critical to delivering solutions that work for the local community and iwi are crucial partners, alongside Government agencies like the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and the Ministry of Social Development.
"Several months ago we also engaged with the wider community including iwi, developers, land agents, local organisations and community leaders. Their ideas and input is proving critical as we develop solutions and is crucial for the whole-of-community and whole-of-government response we need."
Te Arawa Lakes Trust is a key partner working with Council on intiatives to address Rotorua's housing shortage and its chair, Dr Sir Toby Curtis, says he is pleased to see progress being made on the Rotorua housing plan.
"[Today's] announcement reinforces Government's commitment towards this important kaupapa and iwi will look forward to understanding the detail relating to housing solutions for our local community. Iwi and RLC partnership will ensure this is a community led project achieving real housing outcomes."
PANUI PAPAHO - MEDIA STATEMENT - Hon Megan Woods Minister of Housing
26 February 2020
Place-based assessment confirmed for Rotorua
The Minister of Housing Megan Woods has confirmed the Government is working with Rotorua Lakes District Council and Te Arawa for the second place-based assessment to better understand the housing and urban issues affecting the city.
Every New Zealander has a right to a warm, safe and secure place to call home, and we know that a one-size-fits all approach is not enough to tackle the housing crisis, said Megan Woods.
Rotorua is experiencing many challenges, including strong population growth, housing affordability issues, as well as issues with unlocking access to land for housing.
This, alongside a tight rental market, has led to increased housing stress for many households, increasing demand for public housing, and a strong reliance on Rotorua motels for emergency housing.
A key part of this work is to support the Rotorua community to lead a response to the issues they face, including through the Council and Te Arawa led Rotorua Housing Strategy.
Place-based assessments help the Government to better understand the causes of housing and urban pressures around New Zealand, then work in partnership with local communities to respond to local issues, said Megan Woods.
I am delighted the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will be working with both the Council and Te Arawa to find housing solutions in Rotorua. Their commitment is key to making this initiative work.
Our place-based approach reflects that Central Government alone does not have all the answers, and that addressing housing challenges in each place may require a different mix of Central Government and local solutions, said Megan Woods.
Early work in Rotorua has identified problems with a lack of supply relative to population growth, and that the shortfall in supply has been most severe at the lower end of the rental market.
Given the urgent need for new housing supply, Council, Te Arawa and Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities are already working together to identify vacant land suitable for transitional and public housing, Megan Woods said.