Tauranga's elected leaders have been told there is no silver bullet to the city's housing crisis, which is predicted to become much worse in the years to come.
A report commissioned by Tauranga City Council reveals a housing shortfall of 1000 homes within the next three years. That figure is expected to spiral to nearly 5000 in the next four to 10 years.
The Veros Property Service report was presented to the Urban Form and Transport Development Committee meeting yesterday, where it highlighted drastic consequences if land was not urgently zoned and made available for development.
Tauranga has just 18 months of greenfield subdivision capacity left. However, the council's timeframes for delivering suitable and significant new development in new growth areas such as Te Tumu, Tauriko West and Ōmokoroa were at least another five years to go, the report stated.
Council city infrastructure and planning manager Andrew Mead told councillors it was "critical" to progress current development plans such as Tauriko West, Te Tumu and Smith's Farm under urgency.
Such actions might help alleviate the shortfall in the medium term but it appeared there was little that could be done to prevent the immediate undersupply of homes within the next three years, Mead said.
"This is not just about managing population growth ... this is about community. There are broader implications around jobs and economic growth, housing affordability, housing inflation, housing stress and homelessness and rough sleeping. There are also broader council implications financially.
"There is no silver bullet."
Meads' comments follow a presentation to councillors from Bluehaven chief executive Nathan York and Classic Builders' Peter Cooney.
York said the consequences were far more dire than what the report, which included retirement villages, made out.
York told councillors that without the villages, the numbers were "much worse", he said.
"There are reservations and concerns with the report. There's a significant lack of housing supply in this jurisdiction. It was much worse than what is contemplated in the report. This is a serious issue as it stands."
Cooney said the city was in "dire straits" and a lack of faith in the council's ability to supply land had prompted developers to seek work elsewhere.
"Regionally, I believe we will be the worst hit area in New Zealand over the next four to six months. I know that from the numbers from around the country."
Cooney said the council was especially risk-averse and spent too much time and money on consultation "and people have nimby syndrome".
The answer lay with infilling existing land and "just getting the job done", Cooney said.
"As a company, we look five years ahead and I don't know where I'm going to get land from. You can't retrofit and put the infrastructure in after-the-fact."
Cr John Robson said the report didn't offer much hope.
"This confirms what the developers told us, what the levels of homelessness have told us, and what the market has told us. There's a consistent message here."
Robson said the issue of transport needed to be considered in line with developments and the council has had the balance wrong.
"Without a transport system in place to complement it, we have the city that we've got now, which is a city in crisis."
Committee chairman Larry Baldock said the report was important was "confirmation that this is not us playing games with the Government".
"We have a problem ... we are not making this up. This is the reality of the situation and it notes the urgency of these matters."
Councillor Terry Molloy said the council was in a "difficult position" but accepted the report's recommendations. So did Cr Catherine Stewart, who said: "We have to face reality and do something about it".
Councillors voted unanimously to the report's recommendations which included urgent progress with partners NZ Transport Agency and SmartGrowth to fast forward new residential developments.
Green light for $9m pond at Pāpāmoa
Tauranga City Council has agreed to move ahead with construction of a $9 million stormwater facility in Pāpāmoa east known as Pond G.
The construction of the pond is believed to enable to build of 100 new homes in the Wairakei area by July 2020.
The council voted unanimously to progress the construction despite a lack of certainty of NZ Transport Agency funding as part of the proposed Pāpāmoa east interchange.
The pond helps avoid re-consenting risks and costs and also helps enablement of a future town centre in the area.