A knighted Bay of Plenty philanthropist says central Government should fund trunk infrastructure in the region to combat the housing crisis.
Sir Paul Adams told delegates at the Central North Island National Party conference in Tauranga yesterday private enterprise would match demand.
Meanwhile, Tauranga MP Simon Bridges said there were two major problems with the city and both stemmed from housing availability.
Other National MPs from the region Todd Muller (Bay of Plenty), Todd McClay (Rotorua), Louise Upston (Taupō), Scott Simpson (Coromandel), National Party leader Judith Collins and party president Peter Goodfellow were also in attendance at the Trinity Wharf Hotel-based event.
In his address, Adams said development contributions would emerge if the Government decided to fund trunk infrastructure on a commercial basis.
Adams, who formed development company Carrus in 1990, suggested the Government could have security over all lots until contributions and interest were repaid and titles produced on a pre-agreed timeline.
Such action could result in around 100,000 homes around the country and rates creation for local councils, he said.
"The median price in Tauranga is over $900,000 — it's just ridiculous," he said. "Private enterprise is ready and willing and able to match demand."
Bridges said the two problems Tauranga were sides of the same coin: housing. On one side there was the homeless and those in a "precarious" housing position. On the other, everyone else.
He said the perception of homeless people was often wrong, with many in Tauranga working but forced to live in their cars.
"They go to work but are living in cars all around Tauranga. Hundreds of people are like this — it's not hyperbole to call this a crisis," Bridges said.
A spokeswoman for Housing Minister Megan Woods directed questions to the Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which identified the Bay of Plenty region as a priority area.
Tauranga was found to have a shortage of available land for development and a shortage of housing in Rotorua meant more individuals and whānau were living in housing deprivation.
"[The Bay of Plenty is a] priority area with a high proportion of Māori in housing need," the plan said.
"Supply is targeted towards Tauranga and Rotorua where housing deprivation is highest with additional supply also identified for Whakatāne.
"Work is underway to bring on further supply in Kawerau, Ōpōtiki and Western Bay of Plenty."
Woods' spokeswoman also said the Government had already committed to putting billions of dollars into infrastructure to support housing.
Part of that included the Housing Acceleration Fund announcement that $3.8 billion was being committed to housing infrastructure.
Additionally, Kāinga Ora would be supported to borrow $2b extra to scale up land acquisition to increase the pace, scale and mix of housing developments.
The 2022 Central North Island National Party conference is to be held in Rotorua.