As a major property developer, Horowhenua District councillor Wayne Bishop has to declare a conflict of interest and step away from discussions around housing policy.
But outside a meeting, Bishop was free to speak at will, prompted by recent figures showing Horowhenua as the least affordable place to live in New Zealand when comparing wages with rents and house prices.
Bishop said a significant increase in housing supply was the only solution to bring houses prices and rents down to affordable levels and outpace growth.
"Supply is everything. It's economics 101," he said.
The lack of housing was driving up rents, making it even harder for first-home buyers to save for a deposit on a home.
"We now have the most unaffordable rental market in the country," he said.
"And seriously, where can you go if you can't afford a home in Horowhenua, where are you going to go? Whangamōmona?"
"This is a crisis. There are 300 people on the housing waiting list and the motels are full, and not with tourists."
Bishop was scathing of the constraints the current District Plan put on the development of land and said the introduce of a Streamlined Housing Process (SHP) by HDC this week was an admission that the District Plan was failing.
"Our District Plan is the road block," he said.
"By default, if it was working, we wouldn't need to be going through this process and tinkering around the edges is not going to do it."
There was land all over the district ripe for housing now. The current District Plan zoning boundaries and density limitations were a barrier to achieving greater levels of land supply and affordability, he said.
"What policy changes have we made to prevent this happening? Control comes at a cost. We have to make changes to the District Plan to bring more sections to the market," he said.
Bishop said it was locals that were losing out due to a lack of supply as they had to compete with big city investment armed with city market capital.
"The drip-feeding of land is playing into the hands of a few property developers," he said.
"As a developer I should be saying thank you. But this is crazy. It's a train wreck."
Major housing development projects like the planned Tara-Ika subdivision east of Levin would increase housing supply long-term, but would only provide 25 per cent of the housing needed, he said.
There was no escaping the fact that more intensive development would change the face of towns in Horowhenua, that had long enjoyed their spacious backyards.
"Intensification is coming whether you like it or not," he said.
The housing affordability and supply issue was first identified in 2019 by HDC, which led to it being one of the first local authorities in New Zealand to adopt a Housing Action Plan.
HDC this week voted to trial the Streamlined Housing Process (SHP), which aimed to encourage intensive housing developments in residential zoned areas of Levin, Foxton, Foxton Beach and Shannon.
The SHP, which comes into force in March next year, aimed to make it easier for developers to build new homes by streamlining some of the consenting process.
It would involve pre-consent application meetings so any issues were resolved before applications were lodged, and applicants would be given access to pre-prepared design and engineering advice.
HDC group manager David McCorkindale said adopting the SHP was vital, but admitted it wasn't a silver bullet.
"Will it solve all the problems? No. Will it provide more options? Yes," he said.
In his report McCorkindale said it was anticipated the level of density of new housing blocks could come as a surprise to neighbouring property owners.
"This is anticipated because the community of Horowhenua are very familiar with the existing level of development and are still relatively early in the growth phase that the district is experiencing."
Three-storey high density housing could being trialled as a solution to the crisis.