Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick has hit out at the Government's "baffling" housing decisions as the growing number of homeless in the city stretches local resources to the limit.
The comments were included in a strongly worded letter Chadwick sent to government ministers on September 6 raising concerns over a lack of action from Government in addressing the issue of homelessness.
She highlighted the impact of motels in the city being used as emergency housing for the homeless.
"Our once revered 'Motel Mile' has become part of the emergency housing stock, much to the surprise of many visitors to our city and country."
The Rotorua Lakes Council was "constantly experiencing and hearing of counter priorities from central government agencies" over housing, she wrote.
The letter given to the Rotorua Daily Post was sent to Housing Minister Megan Woods, Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta.
It followed Woods' controversial decision last month to reject the council's Special Housing Area application.
The proposal included 80 affordable houses at Ngongotahā.
The mayor and former Labour MP began her letter explaining "last Thursday night I slept in a carpark with Tāmati [Waiariki MP Tāmati Coffey] and many others in our community raising awareness around homelessness".
She said, "there was no intent to build on flood-prone land" at Ngongotahā, after Woods, in her housing area decision, raised concerns over flooding risks.
"It is most frustrating that, in the wake of that decision, Minister Twyford then stated that 'local government needs to take more risks with housing developments'."
Chadwick then listed another "baffling" central government decision where the New Zealand Transport Agency allegedly objected to housing developments on the eastern side of the city due to traffic concerns, after acknowledging State Highway 30 needed to be future-proofed.
"At Rotorua Lakes Council we are starting to question whether your various agencies are on the same wavelength of enabling housing," she wrote.
Chadwick said the council was "in desperate need of a collaborative approach" instead of "bureaucratic bumbling which sees many without a home".
Chadwick told the Rotorua Daily Post this week the letter to Government was intended to "keep the pressure on".
"As I've said many times, using motels as temporary housing is not a viable long-term solution. It is far from ideal for those requiring emergency housing and is not what visitors expect when they book visitor accommodation."
Woods told the Rotorua Daily Post the Government's priority was to provide warm, dry, secure homes, but it was targeting other housing initiatives in Rotorua such as introducing Housing First and increasing state housing.
"As I've previously said, the proposed Ngongotahā special housing area (SHA) site was found to be reasonably complex, with flood risk difficult to assess based on the information provided," she added.
"My officials from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development have offered to collaborate with the Rotorua Lakes Council on other opportunities to increase housing supply and affordable homes."
The mayor forwarded the letter to Waiariki MP Tāmati Coffey.
He told the Rotorua Daily Post "the Minister's [Woods'] decision is final and I respect her position".
"Our focus as a community, must now be on constructively finding the way forward ... I look forward to meeting with my colleague, Minister Woods and the Mayor of Rotorua, to help find new ways we can collectively work in partnership".
Meanwhile, a transport agency spokesperson said "we are working closely with Rotorua Lakes Council to achieve its goals over the long term" and it was working through a detailed business case for the SH30 Eastern Corridor.
"This will provide information on the future-proofing of the corridor and enable future growth and development along this corridor."
Mahuta said she had not yet read the letter, but the initial response on the wider planning issues was made by Woods.