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Press Release: Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers (RDRR), 16 January 2023

It has been confirmed that the Minister of Housing and Urban Development (MHUD) now owns 31 Ngongotahā Road, has commissioned Watchman Capital to develop plans for affordable housing, and has held preliminary discussions with Council.

Ben Dalton, DCE Place, MHUD has kindly agreed to attend the public meeting organised by RDRR to be held Thursday 26th January at 5.30-7.30 at the Ngongotahā Community Hall and to answer questions.

“The Ngongotahā community and RDRR’s members are deeply concerned given their experiences in 2018,” said Reynold Macpherson, Chairman of RDRR. “The same site was proposed to become a Special Housing Area (SHA). Council used the Special Housing Act and decided not to notify, inform, or consult the community.”

Key aspects of the SHA proposal in 2018 were:

  • About 190 dwellings
  • About 110 sections of 500m2 plus.
  • About 80 medium density residential lots of 250m2 -350m2
  • 20m wide esplanade reserve along the Waiteti stream
  • Central reserve area
  • Design principles that will guide subsequent detailed planning are set out at para. 4.2 of the application.

RDRR organised a public meeting on 5 April 2018 to inform the community about the proposal and to collect and provide feedback to the Mayor and Councillors from the community.

“Those that attended the meeting on 5 April 2018,” said Macpherson, “will recall that the community rejected the SHA proposal due to undemocratic Council decision-making, the proposed use of unsuitable land (partly a flood plain), the proposal being culturally offensive and insensitive to mana whenua, unacceptable social consequences for the Ngongotahā village (especially security and safety), inadequate infrastructure plans for additional traffic and parking, and an unsuitable development model.”

The Hon Dr Megan Woods, Minister of Housing, was provided with the report of the meeting archived at  She was also given photographs showing part of the proposed SHA under flood water.

On 19 August 2019, the Minister of Housing wrote to the Mayor of Rotorua, the Hon Steve Chadwick, and to Rotorua Lakes Councillors as follows:

As Minister of Housing, I received your recommendation for the creation of the 31 Ngongotahā Road special housing area (SHA).

After careful consideration and investigation into the suitability of the site for a housing development, regretfully I must decline the recommendation.

The purpose of the Housing Accords and Specials Housing Areas Act is to enhance housing affordability by facilitating an increase in land and housing supply in regions and districts experiencing housing supply and affordability issues.

While acknowledging the potential benefits of the SHA to the Rotorua region, this is a complex application which has highlighted several issues.

First, it is difficult the quantify the risk of flooding to the SHA site at this stage.

In your application you have provided a high level analysis of flooding risk, and a method that will more accurately assess the risk later, at the qualifying development stage. This means that for now, the flooding risk and the impact it may have is difficult to assess.

Secondly, an independent review by an engineering firm of the documents you provided us has found that the site is reasonably complex. This is due to the property’s proximity to a stream and potential to increase flood hazard to downstream properties.

Any flood mitigation would therefore need very careful consideration.

In summary, the proposed housing development at 31 Ngongotahā Road is best progressed through a plan change under the Resource Management Act (RMA), where the views of potentially affected parties can be more thoroughly tested.

Macpherson noted that Watchman Capital has advertised for qualified people in the building trades to construct terraced housing. Other sources indicate that there are plans for about 380 homes to be built on the site. If so, he said, this very high-density development using terraced and affordable housing would significantly impact the Ngongotahā Village.

“In addition to the concerns expressed on 5 April 2018,” he said, “RDRR members are worried about Council’s capacities to quality assure buildings, ensure public safety, arrange appropriate schooling and its willingness to enforce the District Plan and the Building Code. They are also anxious about MHUD apparently bypassing the normal consenting processes and criteria and the lack of public consultations, transparency, and public accountability to this point.”

At the request of members, RDRR invited MHUD and the Council to attend the public meeting to hear answers to the following questions:

  1. What are MHUD’s and Council’s plans for 31 Ngongotahā Road?
  2. What is the quantified level of flooding risk and potential impact at the site?
  3. What is the quantified level of flood hazard to downstream properties and potential impact?
  4. What flood mitigation has been planned at the site and downstream?
  5. What are the findings of geo-tech evaluations of the site?
  6. What development contributions will be paid to Council by MHUD?
  7. Will potentially affected parties be consulted through a plan change process as suggested by the Minister?

All members of the Ngongotahā community, the Mayor and elected members of the Rotorua District Council, the media and RDRR’s members, associates and friends are most welcome to attend.


Reynold Macpherson, 07 346 8553, 021 725 708,