New measure to boost housing supply in Rotorua

Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon.

In a move to address the housing supply issues in Rotorua, Rotorua Lakes Council is to join the Tier 1 major urban centres covered by the medium density residential standards.

Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods and Environment Minister David Parker announced the move today following a request from Rotorua Lakes Council and its partners Te Arawa Lakes Trust and Te Tatau o Te Arawa.

Tier 1 councils currently in the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Act include: Auckland Council, Hamilton City Council, Waikato District Council, Waipā District Council, Tauranga City Council, Western Bay of Plenty District council, Wellington City Council, Porirua City Council, Hutt City Council, Upper Hutt City Council, Kāpiti Coast District Council, Christchurch City Council, Selwyn District Council, Waimakariri District Council.

Rotorua has recently experienced strong population increases, but housing supply has not kept pace – meaning many residents have been locked out of affordable home ownership and rental properties.

Earlier this year, a report was presented to council stating that first-home buyers and elderly renters were paying the price for a “dire shortage” of housing in Rotorua.

The report said the city had an unmet demand for 1500 homes. By 2030, the shortage was expected to be 1400, rising to 3630 by 2050. Read more here.

David Parker.

 “The MDRS means up to three homes of up to three storeys each will be able to be built on most residential sites without requiring a resource consent,” says Parker.

“This allows for a greater variety of housing close to jobs, transport and community facilities – the places people want to be.”

Rotorua Lakes Council will now need to update their district plans to align with the medium density residential standards and National Policy Statement on Urban Development.

“The housing situation in Rotorua needs urgent attention, so we are delighted to see Rotorua Lakes Council proactively addressing its planning rules,” says Woods.

“Including Rotorua Lakes Council under these regulations will significantly increase the number of houses that can be built in the city.”

Megan Woods Photo: RNZ / Ana Tovey.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick welcomes the announcement.

“This is a welcome step as part of all the work underway to build more housing for Rotorua and remove some of the barriers that have been in the way.

“The decision to seek Rotorua’s inclusion in this legislation was unanimously supported by our elected members who all recognise the acute housing needs in our district.”

Some of the new rules which implement the MDRS will be in place from August 2022, while others which require more consideration under the National Policy Statement on Urban Development will come into effect in late 2023.

Steve Chadwick.

The Government has a partnership in Rotorua with the council, iwi and service providers to jointly coordinate work to alleviate the city’s housing shortage.

Read more about the National policy statement on urban development here.


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