Recently Rotorua achieved a world-first by becoming the location for the first indigenous-led program addressing chronic homelessness, with the opening of the Rotorua branch of the Housing First program. This is just one initiative that Evolve Rotorua supports as a way of addressing the myriad of housing and homelessness issues Rotorua faces. We encourage local property owners and property managers to learn about the opportunities for steady income return provided by Housing First, as this program needs more local homes to ensure the success of this program.

Other initiatives to address our housing problems are very much needed. For example, Evolve Rotorua would like to see the Council review issues with zoning and consents that are currently impeding the growth of development of units and apartments in the inner city. We need to ensure more (affordable and mid-range) housing options are available in the inner city, adequately supported by public transport. Ensuring more possibilities for living in the inner city area ensures the viability and vibrancy of the commercial spaces as well as contributes to the much-needed increases in our town’s housing stock. Currently, a number of potential residential units are not being developed despite demand due to impediments with the required consents. We need to update our inner city living policies to facilitate this.

Our Council also needs to take steps to minimise the negative impacts of AirBnB and Bookabach on our local communities.

Another aspect that will assist with progressing our existing and potential new housing developments is ensuring our planning laws are not hamstringing the expansion of our housing stock. Outdated policies that require multiple car parks (when we should be encouraging less car use) is taking away for possible housing. Infrastructure constraints such as overloading our downstream water catchment means requiring stormwater catchment on new developments is a prohibitive investment requirement — this needs to be addressed.