8 October 2021
Media: Rotorua Daily Post
Topic: Emergency/transitional housing in Rotorua
We are following up on this story today: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/rotorua-daily-post/news/housing-crisis-restore-rotorua-inc-launched-to-oppose-more-transitional-housing/G245HHDEXP5INF77IZ2ULWTQ5I/
I was wondering if I could get some response from the mayor as we further explore the debate around the effects of transitional/emergency housing on Rotorua but also the fact that people need places to live.
Could I please have responses from Steve to the following questions by 2pm?
- What is your initial reaction to the establishment of Restore Rotorua Inc and its eagerness to prevent more hotels/motels being used as transitional/emergency housing?
- The group says the sale of more motels/hotels for transitional/emergency housing will lead to a loss of tourism expenditure and therefore hurt the local economy, what are your thoughts on that?
- Is this a case of doing the best with what we've got? In that I mean, do you believe our motels/hotels being used as transitional housing is the only option to ensure people have somewhere to live while another solution is sought?
- Are there other options being explored? What are they?
- This group says the number of active hotels/motels (not being used as MIQ or transitional housing facilities) in Rotorua has dropped by 22%. Do you believe this is causing an accommodation shortage? Why/why not?
Follow up enquiry
We have just received the attached press release from Restore Rotorua, so if the mayor's response to that could be included also, that would be great, specifically the assertion that all 6 of the resource consent applications currently being considered for emergency housing in the CBD should be given to an independent commissioner to determine notification.
Please note as the Mayor has said previously it’s not appropriate for elected members to comment on operational matters. Elected members are not involved in the consenting process.
From Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick:
This is an incredibly complex situation and this Council is very aware of the community concerns about the housing crisis that we are facing.
The use of motels is a short-term response to a dire situation that is happening right now. The Rotorua Housing Taskforce is working toward a system that enables controlled use of motels for a temporary period of time. More houses for Rotorua has always been the long-term goal.
The Taskforce continues to explore all possible solutions to find homes for people in our community. I’m aware that members of Restore Rotorua Inc have been engaging with Council staff and I encourage that engagement to continue. We all need to be working together to find the right solutions for Rotorua.
In terms of accommodation capacity, Rotorua Economic Development has continued to assure the community that there is plenty of accommodation for people wanting to visit Rotorua. We are continuing to see strong interest in events for our community, despite the challenges of the pandemic, and MIQ hotels will eventually return hundreds of rooms to the accommodation stock.