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Opinion – new Kainga Ora homes will import even more homeless

By Mark Gould – 5 April 2022

The hot issue is who will go into the new homes when they are built by KO in developments like in Collie Drive.
Homeless families yes. But, the Homeless from Rotorua? The Homeless bussed into Rotorua by MSD? It is actually the most needy Homeless to be bussed into Rotorua from around New Zealand by Kainga Ora. And when will the inflow it stop? It wont. It has become a nationwide industry replacing Rotorua’s domestic tourism. The Homeless industry is building its own infrastructure. Council has encouraged Te Taumata o Ngāti Whakaue to set up The Hub opposite the Police HQ in Fenton Street to manage the incoming homeless with wrap-round services.
In my view The Hub has been given a monopoly to clip the ticket in the new homeless industry. That is why the inflow won’t stop.
At the same time, Council is encouraging everyone to believe that the bad behaviour in Fenton Street is due to MSD giving some people vouchers to go straight into motels and not being properly managed. And that they are now going to force accommodation providers, landowners and MSD to either apply for resource consent, to offer temporary accommodation, or pivot back into compliance with the District Plan. Yeah right.
A year after Council joined the Housing Taskforce, and helped launch the homeless industry, they now want us to believe that they are part of the solution? My guess is that they will run out the clock to the next election with a few token enforcements and slow-motion responses, for example, facing down independent commissioners when challenged by Restore Rotorua.
In the time being, a real solution would be to turn back the out-of-town homeless and look after our people first. There will be some who don’t want homes or don’t know how to look after the homes. And yes, certain areas of Rotorua will need to have a higher Police presence.
But, when I see that the flow of homeless into Rotorua is being slowed down, so that MSD, KO, MHUD, the Police and Council can catch up, I will know that Rotorua has half a chance to clean up the mess and to get ready for the return of long-awaited tourists.
Mark Gould
RDRR-endorsed candidate for BOP Regional Council