The Government's announcement that it will build 34,000 homes in Auckland in the next decade has left local politicians wondering: "What about Tauranga?"

Tauranga and the Western Bay is the ninth most unaffordable area in the world, according to an international affordability survey. The average house price is 9.7 times the average annual household income - only slightly behind Auckland at 10.0, and ahead of places like Los Angeles (9.2) and London (8.5).

The Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey deems any ratio above 5.1 "severely unaffordable".

Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said a Crown Building Project similar to Auckland's would be "fantastic".


"If the Government can do something on a proportional basis to what they've done in Auckland, that probably would make a real difference," he said.

"Proportionally we're probably in a similar position in terms of housing shortage and unaffordability [as Auckland].

"If the Minister was able to find a way to deliver that here, that would be fantastic."

In the 12 months to March 2017, 1890 residential buildings were granted building consent in Tauranga. For the country's average of 2.7 people per household, this would equate to homes for 5103 people.

Statistics New Zealand's most recent population estimate said Tauranga increased 3600 people in the 12 months to June 2016, to 128,200. This indicated housing supply was slightly higher than the growth in demand, however there were other variables which may influence this.

Labour's housing spokesman, Phil Twyford, said Tauranga desperately needed short and long-term government assistance.

"It's a social and economic disaster for Tauranga," Mr Twyford said. "To have senior citizens living out their days in campgrounds, people living in tents on the side of the road, families squashed into uninsulated garages - it's appalling, there is no excuse for it."

Mr Twyford said Tauranga needed "rapid investment" in emergency housing.

"In the last six months to March 31, in spite of all of their promises last year about increasing the supply of emergency housing, the Government has only increased the supply by five beds, in six months," Mr Twyford said.

"And now we're entering another winter with thousands and thousands of homeless New Zealand families."

Tauranga MP Simon Bridges said housing was "a top priority" for him and an issue he has discussed with constituents and the housing ministers for "some time now".

He said the Ministry of Social Development had "signalled it will be looking" to purchase an extra 150 social housing places in Tauranga by 2019-20.

"Those places are in addition to the over 1500 existing social housing places in the Tauranga Territorial Local Authority.

When asked by email if the Government planned to build any houses in Tauranga, he did not say definitively either way.

Tauranga-based NZ First MP Clayton Mitchell said the city "absolutely" met the requirements for a Crown Building Project like Auckland's.

"We have got a major problem here in Tauranga. Certainly a Crown Housing Project is a sound idea in theory, but we need action now.

"I absolutely do not like to see working-class, hard-working families living in their cars like we're seeing more and more of.

"If we don't have some action immediately, Tauranga will find itself in exactly the same situation as Auckland."