Enabling a new housing development in Tauranga’s east is “absolutely critical” to plug the city’s shortfall of homes.
With a shortage of 5000 homes, the Tauranga City Council commission wants land rezoned as quickly as possible for the Te Tumu development at the eastern end of Pāpāmoa.
But the large greenfield project has been beset by delays and still appears years away from development.
At a meeting on Monday, the commission issued council staff a deadline of early 2026 to get the 760 hectares of land rezoned, despite the challenges.
Commission chairwoman Anne Tolley said there were complex issues to resolve.
”But we need to get on and do it as fast as we possibly can because we’re 5000 houses short,” she said.
”There’s a whole number of reasons why this is absolutely critical.”
A report showed the area would be the safest in Pāpāmoa in a tsunami. Te Tumu would also provide homes for 15,500 people.
It has been identified as a priority urban growth area.
”Let’s get more resources and get on with it … when the city is crying out for housing,” said Tolley.
”We’ve [the commission] been here almost three years and we are still talking these long timelines and lack of resources.
”I’m getting really frustrated.”
The council had a “better chance” with the change of government and its signals around the national policy statement on freshwater, said Tolley.
Work to rezone Te Tumu for urban development began in 2017 with a goal of housing development by 2021, according to council city planning and growth manager Andy Mead’s report to the council.
Delays plagued the project, including divergent aspirations among Māori landowners, differing opinions from iwi, and changes in national policy, especially freshwater management, the report said.
Housing was unlikely to be delivered in Te Tumu until 2040, once land development and civil works timeframes were considered, it said.
This was because of fiscal challenges and the Kaituna Overflow stormwater management project being “critical” to the development of Te Tumu. However, it’s not due for completion until after 2034, Mead’s report said.
Commissioner Stephen Selwood said the priority was filling the existing housing gap, which grew “bigger by the day”. Te Tumu could address that housing gap, said Selwood.
One of the issues was funding the infrastructure and Selwood suggested the council could partner with the central Government.
Tolley said an infrastructure funding and financing (IFF) levy was also an option for funding the required works.
An IFF levy is a government loan that is paid back through council rates over a fixed period.
Tolley said housing could be built before 2040 if the council could find another way to fund the infrastructure.
Commissioner Shadrach Rolleston said landowners were really concerned by the council resiling from funding the infrastructure. But the council wasn’t resiling from the planning, he said.
”We do need to find faster and better ways to deliver the plan change.”
The landowners had been working with the council since 2004 and wanted the plan change to be initiated, said Rolleston.
”Twenty years is a long time.”
The parcels of land that make up Te Tumu are owned by the Te Tumu Kaituna 14 Trust, three other trusts, Catalyst (Highrise) Ltd, Ford Land Holdings, the Tauranga City Council and the Western Bay of Plenty District Council.
Finding a balance between housing supply and protecting the environment was also important, said Rolleston.
”While there may be constraints when it comes to housing, we still value water, we still value the importance of protecting and looking after the environment and our biodiversity.
”From an environmental point of view and biodiversity point of view we have lost a lot,” he said.
”If we can find a way to deliver on outcomes for the environment with housing that would be our ideal scenario.”
The work done by staff around the wetlands was a great example of finding a balance, said Rolleston.
In giving staff a deadline for rezoning Te Tumu, Tolley said there were elements outside the council’s control - but a lot of other aspects they could control.
Council staff would provide regular updates to the council on the Te Tumu works.
- Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ on Air