Housing availability, inner city revitalisation and safety, and climate change mitigation and adaptation are among four key challenges facing the incoming Rotorua Lakes Council.

That's according to a report published by council chief executive Geoff Williams today.

The pre-election report, a legal requirement for local authorities' chief executives, outlines what has been achieved, key projects and their progress, what the council expects to do in the next term, challenges faced by the council and the district, and provides information about council finances.

The report aims to stimulate informed debate and encourage people to stand for election and to vote.


On the issue of housing affordability, Williams wrote a population increase had put pressure on Rotorua's housing market, as had a move from long-term to short-term rentals such as Airbnb.

As average house prices and rents increase it has created more demand for public housing.

"Solutions require partnerships. In August 2017 council and the Government signed a Rotorua Housing Accord, agreeing to work together to address housing supply and affordability," the report said.

"Council's role is also one of advocacy."

Williams wrote that the issues around the inner city had been outlined in the spatial plan.

"While work to revitalise the CBD during recent years has resulted in some quick wins there is still more to be done.

"Safety in the CBD remains a priority for the police and council.

"A longer-term plan needs to be developed to provide a long-term sustainable approach to safety within the CBD throughout the year, in a way that also contributes to the vibrancy of the inner city."


Williams also wrote that climate change was a key issue going forward and council's role was to prepare the community for, and manage the risks of, climate change related to natural hazards.

"Our council is focusing on development of a climate action plan for the Rotorua district."

The fourth issue the report identified was the reintroduction into local government of the four wellbeings (social, cultural, environmental and economic), something driven on a national level.

The council's Vision 2030 goals included moves to address these issues and they were also identified in the objectives of the Rotorua Sustainable Living Strategy.

"The agreed programme of work, which is likely to be a feature of the next long-term plan, will not rest with council alone but will require partnerships with the community, local organisations and government agencies."

The report also looks at projects achieved in the last council term such as the $12.3 million Te Aka Mauri library and children's health hub, Te Manawa and cycle and shared paths.

A statement of financial liability can also be found in the report as can a Funding Impact Statement identifying how the council will fund everything it does.

The pre-election report was briefly discussed in an Operations and Monitoring Committee meeting on Thursday.

At the meeting Williams was asked whether they had considered things people might complain about, such as the cost, and told the committee making sure people voted wisely was essential.

"The question is how do you value a community which is informed and wishes to vote, and is that a valuable investment to be made? And I think the answer is most definitely yes.

"Voting in local government elections is a pivotal and important activity because at the end of the day it is the council that represents the people and having people voting wisely against a solid knowledge base is essential."

The pre-election report will be circulated to homes later in August and is already available online.

There's still time for nominations. Photo / File
There's still time for nominations. Photo / File