Opinion seems to be divided, but some Ahipara residents are opposing a Ministry of Housing and Urban Development application to the Far North District Council for consent to use the former Baylinks Motel at Ahipara for permanent transitional housing.

The proposal, which has not been publicly notified, has attracted both criticism and support, some saying such housing is badly needed, others arguing it will represent a threat to businesses, visitors and families.

"I should imagine it's going to be contentious, depends on which side of the road you stand. This type of housing can be of great benefit to the community if managed well. Or a cesspit if not," one Facebook poster wrote.

"Enough village idiots without importing," another said.


Critics said the application had been lodged without any disclosure to the community, or consultation.

"If the recent reports of the state and goings on at the Northerner (in Kaitaia) are anything to go by then the community has every right to be concerned," one said, adding that there were very limited services available in Ahipara to support those who might need housing.

A public meeting was called at the golf club yesterday evening to discuss and/or launch a petition opposing the plan.

The application states that there will be no physical changes to the site or buildings (which have reportedly been used as rental accommodation for some years).

The NZ Herald reported that Rotorua moteliers whose premises were being used as transitional housing claimed they were neither trained nor equipped to deal with gang and domestic violence, mental health and drug issues.

Rotorua Association of Motels chairwoman Shelley Hobson-Powell said she had had to try to help a woman who wanted to end her life.

"Another example is the fighting between opposing gang members, who are now living in close proximity to each other while in temporary accommodation," she said. "Weapons, drugs, violence — we're dealing with it all. The problems are also very visible, and are impacting negatively on the way people view Rotorua."