“No way”: Tauranga MP opposes racecourse housing

The Greerton Maarawaewae Study includes housing as an option for the current Tauranga Racecourse and Golf Club reserve land. Photo. John Borren.

Tauranga MP Simon Bridges is unequivocal in his belief that housing should not be an option for the Tauranga Racecourse Reserve.

The National Party politician says there is “no way” he supports the idea, and wants the option pulled from the ongoing Greerton Maarawaewae Study being conducted by Tauranga City Council and Kāinga Ora.

The study is being run to assess options for the 85ha lot of Crown reserve land in Greerton, which is currently leased by Tauranga Racing Club and Tauranga Golf Club. The land was permanently reserved as a recreation ground and racecourse in the late 1800s but housing is mentioned as a potential future use in the study’s outline.

“No ifs, no buts, it should be removed as a possibility,” says Bridges.

“Tauranga Racecourse, and the golf course next to it, must remain as a green space. Our city can’t become one big housing development – it needs inner city green space as well.”

Whilst Bridges concedes there is a housing crisis, he suggests the conversion of old state homes into higher density and quality housing, as well as supporting infrastructure processes for development in areas such as Pāpāmoa East and Tauriko.

“In other words, use the land already in housing better, and free up Tauranga’s surrounding land as well,” says Bridges.

“If we do this there’s no land shortage. We could build many thousands more homes and protect our city’s green space.”

Bridges admits he is troubled by Kāinga Ora’s involvement in the study. As the Crown agency for homes and communities, he is concerned the decision for housing development at the reserve may be predestined.

“It is quite clear from within the Labour government, and from their Commissioners at council level, that the agenda is to take this green space for housing,” he says.

“If persuasion doesn’t work, then people power will be needed to stop it.

“The Labour government and their commissioners want this to be a fait accompli. We can’t let that happen.”

Tauranga MP Simon Bridges opposes the idea of housing at the current Racecourse Reserve Land. File Image. SunLive.

Kāinga Ora’s Bay of Plenty regional director Darren Toy says the organisation’s reach extends beyond housing, although that does remain an option.

“As the Crown’s urban development agency, Kāinga Ora has a wide mandate which goes beyond housing, and sees it working in partnership with communities, Māori, councils and others on quality urban development projects of all sizes,” says Toy.

“In this study, a wide range of options will be considered, of which housing is just one.”

He says Kāinga Ora has received no directive toward placing housing on the reserve location. He also affirms that no decisions have been made ahead of the survey’s completion, and that local iwi would be consulted on long term uses of the land. 

“To meet the challenges of Tauranga’s growth, SmartGrowth partners, including Kāinga Ora, are working together on how to ensure Tauranga is a great place to live, learn, work and play,” says Toy.

“This includes potential redevelopment opportunities along the Te Papa peninsula, from Greerton to the city centre, enabling different types of housing connected by good public transport.”

The Tauranga Racecourse Reserve Charitable Trust currently manages the overall lease of the land, which expires in 2039. That lease would need to be broken for housing to be implemented - something Bridges would be prepared to fight.

“To take the green space that makes up the racecourse and the golf club by statute would be an arrogant and authoritarian thing to do,” he says.

“I would lead the charge against this in Parliament if it happened.”

Bridges has a simple message for his constituents, saying he is committed to stopping housing at the reserve and protecting green space.

“I hope we can persuade the Labour government and their commissioner’s about this, but as local MP I will be there for them and the big effort required to stop this in its tracks if behind the scenes persuasion doesn’t work.”

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Posted on 24-11-2021 14:25 | By Slim Shady

63% in poverty? Sure about that? When I was growing up we never ate out. Parents never ate out. Home made rabbit stew and suet dumplings was as luxurious as it got. Looking at the locations of interest for Covid cases it’s dining out and bars morning til night, every day. Poverty my eye. Like all Socialist regimes this lot will dole out freebies to the terminally stupid until the computer says nah. And then like all Socialist Governments in history they will bankrupt us, and your figure might just come true, only it will be real poverty, not the 21st century version.


Posted on 22-11-2021 15:00 | By Slim Shady

Bitter and twisted more like. I wouldn’t describe racegoers or golfers as ’rich’. Having played up there lots of times I would say the overwhelming majority are hard working people. Nobody has handed them money on a platter. They’ve earned it by hard work and they enjoy a game of golf. And the only rich people in racing are from Dubai. The vast majority of owners, trainers or punters lose money. Get that nasty little chip off your shoulder and take responsibility for your own life.

Knows his base

Posted on 21-11-2021 20:05 | By Informed

You got to give it to Bridges - he knows his base. You know, rich people. These good kiwi’s that seem to have no interest in helping the 63% of kiwis living on or below the poverty line.

While I agree with Bridges

Posted on 19-11-2021 23:52 | By SML

no housing should go on that land, it’s troubling that he is [apparently] throwing EX-National MP Anne Tolley under the bus, (a former colleague) with his comment "“The Labour government and their commissioners want this to be a fait accompli.” Labour’s commissioners? I think Mz Tolley would - and should - take exception to that comment.


Posted on 19-11-2021 22:35 | By The Caveman

Its reserve land and the BIGGEST green space in the Tauranga area - KEEP it That way - NO HOUSING !!!


Posted on 19-11-2021 17:55 | By CliftonGuy

If you consider it, the racecourse is firstly seldom used and secondly, not open for the public to enjoy. It has no trees to speak of. Frankly, the racecourse could be moved out of town to a more suitable place. Maybe a compromise would be to build townhouses in the centre of the course, with a tunnel under the track for access? The golf course gets more use by the public and it has trees and other vegitation.

Me too

Posted on 19-11-2021 17:36 | By Lone Star

I totally agree with Bridges. This is an historical site. Having been raised in Greerton, it would be a sad day to see Kainga Ora get their greedy hands on it. Keep it green.

@Let's Get Real

Posted on 19-11-2021 17:08 | By morepork

Don’t try to make it look like an elitist effort to save the Racecourse. Access to Tauranga Race meetings is free or minimal cost and many families enjoy a day at the Races with a picnic on the grass. Simon’s stance on this is right. If things were managed properly there is plenty of space for housing. As for Darren Toy: "To take the green space that makes up the racecourse and the golf club by statute would be an arrogant and authoritarian thing to do,” he says. Funny how it never stopped this Government on Maori Wards... With He Puapua rolling on behind the scenes, it is obvious that they will do whatever they want. The usual ploy is to brand any opposition as "Racist" and, when that doesn’t work, just do it anyway. Expect housing development on the Racecourse.

Let’s get real

Posted on 19-11-2021 16:35 | By Slim Shady

Nail on the head. Petty, small minded, jealous and resentful people who hate anything and anybody associated with “money” will want to replace the golf course and race track with some hideous ghettos of free or subsidised housing. And they will expect said golfers and racing people to empty their pockets and pay for the ghettos as well. Because it’s their right as human beings to have things provided to them by others.


Posted on 19-11-2021 14:38 | By Thinker

100% Agree with Michael and Bridges. You cant just manufacture new green spaces so utilise what we still have as parks and recreation areas. marginal land can be shaped up for housing and build cycleways so all the Geens can pedal away to there hearts content.

Agree with Simon

Posted on 19-11-2021 14:15 | By Kancho

Green spaces are precious. Tauranga has grown and infrastructure is already severely stretched. Already it can take half an hour to travel from Greerton to Barkes corner, Pyes Pa road. Yesterday it took twenty minutes from Cambridge road to Pyes Pa road. Route K also jams up bringing traffic from the mount and city into the same area . So this area can’t take hundreds more homes and the problems they would bring. Recreational green space, playing fields, park open space is very important for this area.

Race Course enhancement

Posted on 19-11-2021 13:36 | By michael

Fully support Bridges view.Our fine city needs more natural beauty eg Parks.Look at ,for example,Wellington Botanical Gardens,New Plymouth Pukekura Park,Christchurch Hagley Park and so on.These cities have developed wonderful parks/gardens over many years,but we are sadly lacking similar attractions as suitable planning has been possibly overlooked.Here is a great opportunity to utilise existing green areas offering citizen input in plannings,projects,involvement etc.Sure, this will take time,but think of the opportunity and pleasure as we see what could be a great place of city enhancement and attraction.


Posted on 19-11-2021 12:47 | By Let's get real

I think that I hear money talking rather than common sense. (Golf and horse breeding/racing money) There is more than enough room to have an extremely well thought out housing development and extensive green space that is available to all rather than the paying elite. Who says that the pleasures of the wealthy must be catered for in the middle of town...? A look around town will show how many good looking houses can be developed on a small piece of land and local Iwi would be failing their people by not pushing forward a plan for affordable housing rather than wealthy people being subsidised to hack a small ball around an enormous expanse of land

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