Minister: Anti-social behaviour no ‘excuse’

Housing Minister Megan Woods in Rotorua on Thursday. Photo / Andrew Warner / Rotorua Daily Post.

Housing Minister Megan Woods says anti-social behaviour issues on Rotorua’s Tania Cr “cannot and will not be an excuse” not to expand public housing on the troubled street.

Woods made the comments while on a visit to Rotorua on Thursday to announce a new tranche of funding for the Māori Housing Renewable Energy Fund, and view the newly-opened Rotorua housing hub, Te Pokapū.

Kāinga Ora has confirmed it is building 12 additional dwellings on two existing Kāinga Ora sites – five of which are due to open in August, and seven of which will be completed around April next year. The developments were expansions of previous Kāinga Ora housing.

Last week, Local Democracy Reporting revealed a resident was sleeping with a baseball bat next to her bed due to the regular crime and anti-social behaviour taking place on the street.

She also expressed fears a child could be hit by near-daily street racing.

Asked if Woods believed it was an appropriate place for public housing to be expanded, Woods said the Government wouldn’t use the problems on the street as an “excuse that this government uses not to build social housing”.

She said a lack of public housing was the problem in Rotorua.

“We simply need more public houses here in Rotorua. We need to ensure that we’re creating good communities when we build those houses.

“The problem is not the houses, the problem is the fact that we have an issue with homelessness here in Rotorua. We will not solve those problems [on Tania Cr] unless we have a government committed to building more houses.

“They do not just go anywhere. This is an area that has been redeveloped at greater density, where we can build a good community.

“We need to tackle any social problems and we need to look at any issues that are arising in an area but that cannot and will not be an excuse that this government uses not to build social housing.”

“There is an issue with homelessness in this city, there is an issue with not having enough houses and we’ve got to find solutions to that and we do not resile from that.”

Asked if she was comfortable with people on Tania Cr sleeping with baseball bats by their beds, she said she had not received a briefing on it and was not in a position to comment on it.

Kāinga Ora houses under construction on Tania Cr. Photo / Andrew Warner / Rotorua Daily Post.

“That is not something that comes within my portfolio.”

Woods was also asked if the Government could provide a time frame for a transition away from emergency accommodation in Rotorua’s motels.

She said it would end “as quickly as it can”.

“What we do have to ensure, though, is that we don’t shift the problem back to the streets where it was.

“We could give a firm date, we could say we’d shut down the motels but that wouldn’t make the problem go away.”

She said what it needed was long-term commitment to building “more permanent solutions” and that was what the Government was doing.

“There are 220 houses currently under construction or about to be started in this district.

“The commitment that I can give to the people of Rotorua is that we have a long-term solution around this, and that involves building houses, not tearing them down or selling them off.

“I don’t think that a time frame is the most useful factor, the most useful factor is a commitment that there will be long-term solutions.”

She said emergency accommodation in motels was a short- to medium-term solution.

Asked if she had any concerns about the reputational damage to Rotorua from some of the negative anti-social effects of emergency accommodation, Woods said there were concerns for the people of Rotorua.

She said that was what drove the establishment of the Rotorua housing taskforce.

“If we’re going to tackle a housing crisis, we’ve got to be working in partnerships and we’ve got to have real solutions.”

-Local Democracy Reporting is Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air




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4 Comments

@jed

Posted on 25-03-2022 16:39 | By Kancho

Yep you are right . Labour four and a half years in office and housing and policing worse than ever. Failures on all their big talk on housing, poverty, children all worse. Now a damning education report of low attendance at schools particularly low decile schools One in five leaving school unable to read and write to acceptable standards. All goes back to the same sources.

Really hilarious

Posted on 25-03-2022 13:23 | By jed

Government fails to educate young people, who then can’t get jobs, and cannot house themselves, so government starts kiwibuild so they can afford housing ... kiwibuild fails, so government puts them in motels. Now, these people have no jobs and are living in motels and their kids education is down the tubes so there goes any future hope.

history

Posted on 25-03-2022 12:35 | By terry hall

What do you expect, government state houseing, it will not change, histoty proves it look at all the other state houseing area’s otara for one, houses trashed, windows broken, interior trashed, had an employee who came to work one morning as said what he saw he could not believe a women cooking breakfast on the front lawn of a state house with a fire in the electric stove, enough said.

No excuse

Posted on 25-03-2022 09:40 | By Kancho

For allowing anti social abuses and terrorising the neighborhood to go unchecked. The government housing abuses must stop being tolerated and policing stepped up to give relief to the public.

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