11 May 2022
Media: Local Democracy Reporter
Topic: Proposed Development Contributions Policy
I have been speaking with some property developers on their views about the council's draft development contributions policy, to be considered at tomorrow's meeting.
Their comments are below and I invite the council and or mayor (where applicable) to respond to those comments if desired.
Also re this line in the agenda (p22):
There is a risk of legal challenge of the policy once implementation commences. Council has sought legal advice as to the best way to proceed with the policy.
- Could the council please tell me what that legal advice has cost? Please provide the GST inclusive figure.
Rotorua commercial and industrial property developer Ray Cook said costs for developers were rising and margins shrinking.
He told Local Democracy Reporting the council was “going to kill the goose that lays the golden egg” if it the policy was implemented.
He said while there was a demand for housing there was also a need to ensure jobs in the district, which could be enabled through commercial and industrial development and properties.
“It’s just crazy.
“Everyone’s trying, currently, to cut their costs.
“This council seems to be working in the opposite direction.
“I just see this development levy as another tax.”
He said it would disincentivise commercial and industrial development.
Cook wrote to all councillors on Tuesday night asking them to dismiss the proposal at Thursday’s Strategy, Policy and Finance meeting.
In the letter, he said the policy would have a “serious effect” on commercial and industrial property development in Rotorua.
He said developers already contributed “a significant financial contribution” to the council through resource consent and building consent fees, upgrading infrastructure connections to developments.
He said rates take also increased after the development was finished, when properties were revalued.
“Developers are not able to pass on these costs to our tenants as rents are already maxed out.”
He urged the council to “dismiss” the proposal and “be like all other businesses who are at present cutting costs and overheads to survive”.
“If [the council] can’t do that, you should put up your rates across the region as the development sector should not be penalised for the lack of planning by the present council.”
Sunnydowns Developments director Paul Sumner said the proposal needed to be consulted on and he would be making a submission on it.
He agreed margins were very tight for developers.
Commercial property developer Tony Bradley said the industry was already facing “headwinds” and he disagreed with a development contribution policy.
“We just don’t need another cost.”
He said the developers already provided “a form of contribution” through consenting, rates and infrastructure built.
As the developer of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council building on Fenton St, he said rates increased from about $8500 a year to $45,000 a year after the development.
He said in that project and another – the development of the Te Ngae shops – his company had also made a large investments in infrastructure, such as stormwater upgrades.
“It’s not the right time to be even talking about this.
“I don’t think Rotorua’s in the position to withstand another cost to development without stagnating, putting the brakes on.”
He said if the numbers didn’t "stack up” developers wouldn’t be willing to take the risk to invest in Rotorua.
Property developer Ryan Holmes said the council had set up a working group with developers to get their views on policy in the district, and a meeting was scheduled to discuss development contributions but hadn’t yet happened.
Holmes said in his opinion the council had “gone ahead, behind the scenes, and created a policy, had no intention of listening to the landowners and the developers and the construction companies”.
“That’s what my gripe is, it’s a flawed process. The council has gone and spent money with planners and lawyers and come up with their own policy.”
He said it was “an absolute slap on the face” and made a “sham of these working groups”.
“It’s completely underhanded.”
Holmes said a previous development contribution policy had “absolutely stifled development” and was a “big deterrent”.
He believed the infrastructure to support development could be funded by a targeted rate on the subject properties once they were completed.
Classic Group director Peter Cooney said as long as developer contributions were “reasonable and realistic” and didn’t leave the burden entirely on developers, he supported them.
Mayor Chadwick provided the following response:
Elected members have been lobbied about this. I don’t consider it appropriate to pre-empt anything before we’ve had the opportunity to hear what’s proposed and have fully discussed it, which we’ll do at tomorrow’s meeting where this matter is coming up.
From the council organisation:
Reporter was informed we were chasing up the cost of legal advice and would send that through when we had received it and that otherwise there was nothing further to add [to information in the report going to Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee] at this stage.
Media: NZME (Rotorua Daily Post and BOP Times)
Topic: Assaults on police
I was hoping to seek comment from the mayor or anyone else relevant from council about the figures below -- the number of assaults on police in the Bay of Plenty between 2017 and 2021.
Rotorua had the highest-number of assaults on police in the Bay of Plenty between 2017 and 2021 with 86. Tauranga followed next with 80 then Whakatāne with 23. There were 277 total attacks in the region (the fourth highest of all 12 Police Districts behind Counties Manukau, Waikato and Wellington).
There were 124 incidents of police being spat at and 153 of either being hit/bit in the region over that timeframe.
The figures were provided following an OIA to the police which I can forward if you want to take a look.
- What is your reaction to the figures?
- What would your message to the community and/or offenders be about this?
And if there's anything else you'd like to mention, please feel free.
From Rotorua Mayor, Steve Chadwick:
It is troubling to hear about such statistics. We have to value our police force and any sort of attack on officers trying to do their job is absolutely unacceptable.
They do a very hard job and are at the pointy end of trying to keep the community at large safe. They do a lot of engagement and education, including in our schools, as well as being our first port of call when there is trouble.
They absolutely deserve to be valued and respected as our first line of response in times of trauma in our society.