It appears Tukituki National MP Lawrence Yule is only just waking up to the Hastings housing crisis.

Where has he been on this issue for the past 16 years?

He's come out attacking others for not doing enough – but what did he do when he had all the power, as Hastings mayor, to make a real difference?

At a time when the crisis was being created, compounding year on year by the demolishing and sell off of state housing, when did he speak up against it? The housing crisis has been made worse by the snail pace release of residential development land for the private sector across Hastings – right when the building industry was calling for it.


On July 4, 2016, Hastings demanded Lawrence as mayor take action.

I attended this meeting of our local building industry, where the council chambers was packed to the rafters demanding action – all the time Yule kept justifying the council's approach, claiming all was fine and continued the regressive drip-feeding policy.

Year on year and as recently as a public meeting on the housing crisis a few weeks back, I have kept on asking for a working housing plan for Hastings.

Three years ago, in this very newspaper I called for Hastings to start leading on the home front - that we needed to pick up the pace for putting people on all budgets into homes or we were in danger of being left behind.

I said that while we must focus (and rightly so) on supporting those in our poorest areas, it's not until we start looking at how a lack of housing is also impacting right across Hastings that things will start hitting home.

Right when we should have been taking every opportunity, addressing supply and feeding the market demand.

Six years ago, I stood on the steps of a perfectly good empty five bedroom state house in Havelock North demanding that its pending sale be stopped and filled with a family in need.

"One house, one family at a time," I would say to myself.


It was always a battle. With residents in Raureka we worked for more than a year to get a family into a perfectly good empty state house. Today, all the surrounding state-owned land, which until Labour became Government was going to be sold off too, is the first new social housing development for Hastings to get under way.

Through Official Information Act requests, I produced list on list of the hundreds of houses across Hawke's Bay that National was selling off at rock bottom prices, well below government valuation.

Week after week, month after month the massive sell down continued. Every time I called to end it, the response was the same. "There was no 'need'."

As the Opposition local MP Lawrence Yule has said houses were already falling down or were 'P' houses. But as we know, many were very livable, and P testing saw people turned out, when in fact their homes were safe.

As Albert Einstein says, to fix a problem, you can not use the same thinking of those who created it.

Next month Hastings council, under the new chief executive Nigel Bicknell, will present a housing plan to Government. I am fully committed to making sure it succeeds.

Finally, we are getting action. Councils, a new regional housing forum group, iwi and the Labour-led Government are working on housing for all.

It is only thanks to those who are genuinely committed to housing for Hastings, that a real plan is on its way and one that we will keep building on it - together.

Anna Lorck is a Hawke's Bay Housing Advocate, and former Labour Tukituki candidate.