Questions about a petition opposing the Lakefront redevelopment were blocked after a councillor took offence to the word "iwistocracy" used in the presentation.

Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers secretary Reynold Macpherson today presented to councillors a roughly 1600-signature petition opposing the development at the Rotorua Lakes Council meeting.

He said the Lakefront redevelopment had been marred with "continuing controversy".

Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers secretary Reynold Macpherson. Photo / File
Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers secretary Reynold Macpherson. Photo / File

"We set no target [signatures] because no target seemed to be enough for some people."


Mayor Steve Chadwick stopped Macpherson when he reached the five-minute cap allocated to those presenting petitions.

Macpherson's presentation included comments made during signature gathering around priorities, expenditure and that it was "immoral for the council's co-governance partners ('iwistocracy') to co-plan public investment".

But when he tried to touch on the comments, deputy mayor Dave Donaldson asked Chadwick to "terminate the presentation" because they were offensive.

"The word 'iwistocracy' in particular I find offensive not only to myself but to people in this room and a large number of our community."

Rotorua Lakefront is due for redevelopment. Photo / File
Rotorua Lakefront is due for redevelopment. Photo / File

Chadwick agreed the word was offensive and ruled questions were "out of order".

"Councillors now need to take time to reflect on what's been presented which includes all of the comments and also a summary analysis from our staff. We will now move on to the next item."

Councillor Rob Kent said he agreed the comment was disrespectful but called for questions. But Chadwick said "I've made my ruling and I'm going to stick to it".

Chadwick said the petition had been received but "his out of order comment means we shut down the opportunity for questions".


The development of the Lakefront is a key project in the council's 2018-2028 Long-term Plan.

The council has set aside $20m over eight years for the project and has been given a further $19.9m through the Government's Provincial Growth Fund.

Later in the meeting, strategy development manager Portia McKenzie told councillors the redevelopment would bring roughly 470 jobs to the region and $305.7m in private and iwi investment.

"These developers have been saying we're not prepared to invest when the quality of the lakefront is looking in the state it is. They're saying if you invest then we're prepared to invest as well."

McKenzie said the council was currently working through the Provincial Growth Fund contract and on a cultural impact assessment.

She said $1m had been set aside for a new playground and the council would consult with children on designs.