Part of being an effective electorate MP is staying connected with constituents and key stakeholders. As well as holding monthly drop-in clinics for constituents to share their views and concerns, I regularly meet with crown agencies, private business owners and industry representatives.
The most regular topic that is raised with me at stakeholder meetings is the lack of housing stock in the Bay of Plenty. Employers struggle to attract staff to the area because it’s nearly as difficult to buy a house here as it is in Auckland. Real estate agents are crying out for listings. Letting agents have massive waitlists. Even to get on the register for a new build can cost over a thousand dollars as housing developers have many more buyers than sections.
We can’t keep accommodating people long-term in motels; it’s not healthy for any family to live in such an environment. Available land to build on locally is almost non-existent, with Papamoa East and Tauriko West the last green fields locations. Each has its own challenges to build on but infrastructure is one of the keys to opening these areas for families to live in.
Having met recently with Tauranga City Council commissioners, I have confidence in their abilities to make the decisions that will set out our region’s future ability to grow sustainably. But they must do so in partnership with central government to ensure that the infrastructure we need is made available and that the Resource Management Act changes smooth the way for these new housing areas to be fast-tracked. We simply cannot afford to slow our city’s growth for the lack of roads, schools and everything else that contributes to affordable, safe and healthy neighbourhoods.