Building Bob’s dream

Claims that Tauranga Council is contributing to the city’s affordable housing problem have been rejected by Mayor Stuart Crosby.

Former Tauranga MP and developer Bob Clarkson says home-buyers have to pay more for sections because council needs to recover infrastructure development debts through building impact fees.

“So that means all the young couples, everyone with their first home has got to pay twice as much for their sections just because the council has incurred all this debt.”

Bob’s comments come after learning his vision to build 1000 affordable homes in Tauriko is unlikely to be approved for at least 10 years. His plan has been rejected by Tauranga and Western Bay councils, because it is outside the agreed urban settlement area, but both councils have requested it be considered in the SmartGrowth strategic review.

Stuart says affordable housing is one of the city’s biggest challenges and building and planning fees were recently cut and will “continue to make more changes to create more affordability in housing”.

He says there is a “very real high cost” to providing and operating basic infrastructure to properties in new development areas including water, wastewater management and amenities.

“While we have a goal that growth pays for growth the reality is that new development always has a cost to existing ratepayers and users.”

Bob says high land prices are the reason homes cost so much in the region with land values jumping by 250- 300 per cent when farm land is zoned residential.

“We’ve got a situation now that nobody is building affordable homes – and after looking at it we realised that the main problem is not the cost of the homes but the cost of the land.”

Bob says his family could make $60 million on the farmland they own in Tauriko if they sell at market value after rezoning, but instead he wants to sacrifice the profit to offer affordable housing. However his plans have not been approved because they are outside SmartGrowth’s settlement area.

Stuart says it makes sense to use the infrastructure you have already invested in – including the “significant investment” in Bethlehem, Pyes Pa, Ohauiti, Welcome Bay and Papamoa and the established areas of Tauranga and Mount Maunganui - to cater for growth before running off to put more in elsewhere.

In recognition of the councils’ need to recoup infrastructure costs Bob has dropped plans to organise his own sewage system and will link into the Southern Pipeline. He argues the planning system should be changed so landowners can do any development that is in the city’s best interest, such as his proposed affordable housing

“Anything should be possible – that’s industrial land, residential land or affordable homes, anything should be possible if it’s of benefit to the town.”

However Stuart says such a system would be unworkable, leading quickly to “chaos on the roads, water running out, pollution into our environment, endless complaints to council about different activities. The key is to achieve planned progress by providing for today and planning for tomorrow”.

Bob is determined to help first home-buyers after seeing how hard it is for many low-medium income earners in Tauranga, saying he is a man on a mission to help stop many first home-buyers being driven to Australia, because the high price of residential-zoned land is forcing home prices up.

“I just want to say sorry to the people of Tauranga who are trying to buy their first home it guts me something terrible. I know there is a huge demand because my daughter keeps getting calls from people who want to go on the list.

“You’ve got people out there who are spending half their take-home pay just on rent – it’s a very difficult situation, we’ve got to solve the problem.”

In July Bob shared his ideas on affordable housing with the government’s Productivity Council which is looking at the problem of expensive housing. He was invited after he announced plans to build 1000 “high quality” homes and section packages for $280,000 in Tauriko.

The cost will also be kept down with bulk buying. Under his plan the affordable homes, another 1000 mid-range homes and 50 high-end homes along the Wairoa River will be built on “family-sized” 400-500 sqm sections on 200 ha he owns from the Tauriko service station to Redwood Lane.

Tauranga Budget Advisory Service coordinator Dianne Bruin says there is a real need for more affordable housing in Tauranga, with the agency seeing many households in financial trouble who are paying 50 per cent of their wages on mortgages or rents.

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Posted on 23-10-2012 02:56 | By Secret Squirrel

Developed land now without adding more to the pot, the prices will tumble and there will be a few more rounds of financial failure like The Lakes former owners.


Posted on 09-10-2012 14:40 | By PLONKER

That is $60,000 for each house? That is a lot of money to make out of that.


Posted on 08-10-2012 23:14 | By PLONKER

Now that is what all of this is about isn’t it. If they don;t let me do "what I want when I want" then I will go and make $60 million ... blah blah ... well I reckon that is just not going to happen not unless ponds and ducks become very valuable around Tauriko.

69 land?

Posted on 08-10-2012 12:26 | By YOGI

Murray clearly has not learned anythign of the past blunders and is looking to do a repeat session, most likely tyhink that thre is a pot of gold for TCC at the end of it all?

EMs still in sixty nine land methinks

Posted on 02-10-2012 20:17 | By Investigator

Murray for heavens sake grow up mate and learn from your past lessons.This individual is a self made man and worships his creator.!!!!!


Posted on 02-10-2012 19:56 | By PLONKER

Least we forget Baypark and a heap of other dealings. Least we forget that someone did not pay any rates as well. What about the freebee handout of rates money for the roundabout at Te Maunga, then there was the other one at Hewletts raod and oh there was traffic lights at Jean Batten Drive to. Come on Murray you "GUYS" only figure out his game after the horse has bolted off and long gone ...

Bob knows ...

Posted on 02-10-2012 12:15 | By Murray.Guy

Bob know the rules, requirements, processes, and he also knows, as do most of us, that they can be modified, circumvented, as it suits those who can choose to build fences or open gates (Smartgrowth partners, TCC executive staff, Mayor and team) EG: The Lakes. I have attended the meetings where elected members have listened to Bob Clarkson share his thoughts, his vision. At NO TIME has there been any suggestion of ratepayer subsidy or ’special treatment’ required or requested. The ratepayers are faced with millions of dollars in costs relating to ill timed and conceived infrastructure (EG: Southern Pipeline, Route K) based on flaky advice, thanks mostly to those who seek to frustrate Bob Clarkson’s efforts. It makes absolute sense we encourage any initiative that might reduce the ratepayer exposure (risk) and maximises the return on developments in our region.


Posted on 01-10-2012 16:35 | By YOGI

You know the rules and requirements of the district plan, the consent processes and the need for adequate infrastructure and so on. Why all of these complaints? these things are known by everyone else! Guess it all comes back to being a case of "The cart is before the horse"


Posted on 30-09-2012 22:01 | By YOGI

Wanted to much for free on the ratepayers of Tauranga, like a few months ago it was a free sewerage pipe, a few months before that it was a free road upgrade and round about on SH29, that is what we know about, the worry is what we don’t know about as yet?


Posted on 29-09-2012 18:48 | By YOGI

All souunds nice, but if the city has already setup the infrastructure and services then to build elsewhere and outside the perimeter already established and known seems like City Hall self destruction. The city nor ratepayers can afford to carry a lot more debt to satisfty a whim of this magnitude. Sure all sounds nice and wonderful to build low cost housing but that also means someone else has to pay, the way this is being lined up means that the aim here is that Tauranga City ratepayers are being lined up to foot the bills, but who gets the profits, not the ratepayer that is for sure.

Tauranga is CHEAP!!

Posted on 29-09-2012 14:20 | By wreck1080

Real prices have been falling last 5 years. Just try to buy a house in Auckland and you’ll realise how cheap Tauranga actually is. Bob will flood the tauranga market and likely be unsellable given the numbers moving to Australia. Show me the jobs, and I’ll show you the people wanting to live here.

Building Bob’s dream

Posted on 29-09-2012 14:15 | By algail

The council while being a major contributor to high building costs in Tauranga they are not the only group guilty of greed . The council can do a lot better too in savings by for example stop resealing roads that really don’t need resealing yet. Stop donating money, lend it at interest free loans rather than give to exclusive groups. Don’t give land use away for 20 or 30 years totally free of charge. Don’t promote the building of colleges in the city centre . A city centre should be a place for business these days. People have transport now so they can travel to the suburbs to study. Who lives in the city centre anyway?. Affordable housing is needed everywhere no more urgently here than anywhere. If a developer wants to develop land outside the limits of a cities infrastructure reach then he / they should pay all the expenses for having any infrastructure installed. I don’t see why overburdened ratepayers which inc people who can only just afford to live in an affordable home should have to pay via increased rates for any builders dream no matter how saintly that dream may seem to be. In the end he will be doing it to make money rather than a charitable deed. I recently carried out a major renovation on my house I bought most of the materials inc the weatherboard from Auckland at half the price I would have paid for exactly the same products in Tauranga. Builders and other trades people need to sharpen their pencils too. The top quote for this job by Tauranga firms was from $127.000 down to $30.000. I got the job done in the end for $40.000 by a great builder, probably the best builder in Tauranga it turns out, an honest man who was willing to do an honest days work for an honest payment. Alastair Bethlehem

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