Monday, July 15, 2024

Rotorua housing accord sign of a better urban future

Minister for Housing, Megan Woods says the new Rotorua Housing Accord will help to ensure the town has better and more sustainable housing outcomes for its people.

The Accord has been signed by the Government, Rotorua Lakes Council, Te Arawa and Ngāti Whakaue as mana whenua which gifted land to establish the Rotorua township.

It renews the commitment to work collaboratively to address Rotorua’s chronic housing shortage, improve emergency housing and the wellbeing of the community, says Minister Woods and Social Development Minister, Carmel Sepuloni. 

Rotorua has experienced significant population growth in recent years, recording more than 9,000 new residents since 2013 and only 1,200 private homes built.

“This has created an unacceptable rise in house prices and rental costs,” Minister Woods said.

“Today’s Accord spells out clearly the Government’s current and ongoing commitment to Rotorua as it works with the community to deliver more public, transitional and affordable housing, and also provide safe, supported emergency accommodation.”

Rotorua Mayor, Tania Tapsell says the Accord responds to the urgent need to end mixed use tourism accommodation and deliver better housing solutions for those in need.

She said the Council was already making more progress in speeding up development, with more than a 150% increase in new dwelling consents issued since September 2020.

“But lasting change cannot be achieved without the three Parties working together to deliver better outcomes for everyone who lives here in our beautiful district,” Mayor Tapsell said. 

Minister Woods says the Accord seeks to progressively reduce the use of motels for emergency housing in Rotorua to near zero, provide quality delivery of care and wrap-around support to people in emergency accommodation and build more public homes to address the housing shortage in Rotorua.    

“Significant work is underway, with around 330 public and transitional homes under construction or in planning by Kāinga Ora, Community Housing Providers and Iwi and Māori,” she said.

“There has been huge investment in infrastructure, including $84.6 million for stormwater improvements through the Infrastructure Acceleration Fund. This pipeline of public and transitional housing will ensure Rotorua can be a strong, vibrant city with a robust housing infrastructure in the years ahead. 

“There has also been a strong partnership with Māori resulting in several new housing developments across Rotorua, by, for and with Māori. I acknowledge the work of the Te Arawa and Ngāti Whakaue, who have been working assiduously with the Government to get better housing outcomes for whānau and individuals in Rotorua.” 

Chairman of a Te Arawa Working Party responding to emergency housing, Rawiri Waru says people must come first in any solution.

Rawiri Waru.

“He kura tangata, a human being is precious. As mana whenua, Te Arawa and in particular Ngāti Whakaue, respect and strive to take care of everyone in our rohe. We agree that housing development, which is environmentally friendly and sustainable, is desperately needed in Rotorua.”

“But, above all Te Arawa is driven by our inherited value of protecting the wellbeing and safety of people who reside in Rotorua and manuhiri who come to our rohe. “This Accord recognises our collaborative duty to address the chronic housing crisis and tackle the many issues that have emerged from it.

“Me whai mana nui hoki ngā mātāpono a Te Arawa ki tēnei take kīhai ki tā Te Arawa whakatau ai. Te Arawa beliefs and ideologies must be given mana and applied as directed by Te Arawa,” Mr Waru said.

Minister Sepuloni said the Accord provides a holistic approach to housing.

“The care and wellbeing of individuals and whānau reliant on emergency housing is a key focus. The Government is committed to ensuring all people who have short-term accommodation needs can get these met while longer term housing supply is established, until there is no further need for emergency housing,” she said.

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