The Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey 2019 has reported that Tauranga has climbed to be the 8th most unaffordable area for housing in the world after ranking 12th in 2018.

This is a growing crisis for our area. Increasingly those who wish to live in the area are either being impoverished by escalating housing costs or cannot afford housing at all.

As a result, increasing numbers of homeless are noticeable in our town centres, and we have a growing waiting list for social housing.

The prospects of housing affordability being improved in the near future appear bleak.

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The Government's KiwiBuild policy response has had little impact in the area and the planned increase in the social housing stock seems inadequate to meet demands.

In my view, none of the local councils has signalled an intention to adopt the sort of policies aimed at encouraging affordable or social housing that other councils have put in place.

In order to address this escalating social problem, it may be that there needs to be an acceptance within government and the wider community that escalating house prices are bringing significant social costs to our community that only major policy initiatives can address.

Michael Sharp
Tauranga Housing Advocacy Trust

Mount Maunganui

RMA reform needed

It is a lot to expect people to own their own homes, when the gap between the price of housing and their incomes is so great, and one of the worst statistics in the world.

The resulting negative social issues people are experiencing, whether renting or trying to buy is crippling our society.

We need reform of the Resource Management Act as it is destroying our way of life and pricing people out of home ownership, creating a box-ticking bureaucracy.

The time taken for resource approvals is driving people nuts.

Successive governments have had the chance to fix it but none has, and Nick Smith made it even worse, and central government lumps more and more onto local government without considering the increased costs that fall on to ratepayers and the community.

This cumbersome outdated Resource Management Act, which dictates what people can and can't do on their property, is threatening our standard of living and butchering our democracy.

There is no way we will make housing affordable the way our councils are working, or rather, not working.

2019 must be the year that policies are written that create an affordable place for us all.

Margaret Murray-Benge
Bethlehem

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