Everybody deserves a roof over their heads and the Government's commitment to building hundreds of new state homes in the Bay of Plenty is a "fantastic start", a local homeless advocate says.
But Visions of a Helping Hand chief executive Tiny Deane says a solution to Rotorua's homeless problem does not lie solely in building more houses - "wraparound services and a holistic approach to getting people into homes are needed for a permanent solution to the problems we face".
"It's no good Mum and Dad giving you a bike if you've never ridden one and they're not willing to teach you. The same goes for social housing. The Government needs to have a strong plan in place for how people are going to be supported once they move into these houses.
"This commitment is a fantastic start and if we can help the Government in any way we will. We have our own plans to build homes for our people but we are focusing on home ownership."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has promised to fix New Zealand's housing crisis and has unveiled new details of her Government's Public Housing Plan, announced during last year's Budget, which identifies where in the country the additional 8000 state and transition houses will go.
The Bay of Plenty has been identified as a priority area due to a high proportion of Māori in housing need.
Under the new 2021-2024 plan, the Government intends to build between 430 and 450 new public houses and between 150 and 460 transitional houses in the Bay of Plenty.
As of June, there were 2855 state homes and 233 transitional homes in the region.
Including builds announced under previous plans, public housing stock would increase in total by up to 630 state homes and 271 transitional homes by 2024.
However, the Government does not have a breakdown of how many of those houses are destined for Rotorua - a missing detail the city's MP says is disappointing.
"There is no detail in this announcement for Rotorua, which is disappointing because they have had a lot of time to work out what needs to happen here," Rotorua MP Todd McClay said.
"They are very quick to dump thousands of people in our motels but when it comes to actually having houses built, they seem to be distracted."
He said public housing waiting lists would not do anything to help the people in Rotorua who wanted to own their own home.
"The Government's announcement of what they hope to do over the next three years for the Bay of Plenty will leave local people hoping to own their own home, confused and unsure of exactly what the Government is doing to help them.
"Whatever their plan is for Rotorua, it doesn't come close to dealing with the homeless problem they are dumping in our motels and does nothing at all around home ownership.
"I want to see some real action and less talk. Fundamentally, this was an announcement in the Budget last year that the Government is starting this year and we still have no detail."
In response, Housing Minister Megan Woods said Rotorua was identified as one of nine focus areas for future delivery of public and transitional housing.
"This builds on the work we're already doing in Rotorua as part of our place-based approach, where we work closely with the local council and iwi to drive better housing outcomes for the local community across a number of priority areas."
She said the Government was not dumping thousands of people in motels, rather "in limited circumstances we are providing temporary accommodation for otherwise rough sleepers with comprehensive wraparound support while we ramp up new housing supply".
"This announcement will see us go further with our public and transitional housing plan, to support the needs of the local community.
"We are also investing in local infrastructure to enable more affordable and market housing to be developed.
"This Government's record stands in stark contrast to the complete lack of action from the previous National Government, but the job's not done and we're continuing to look at other interventions to tackle the housing crisis and further announcements are expected over coming months."
The region's state house waiting list has continued to balloon, with more than 1500 people now waiting to be placed into a home.
"Supply is targeted towards Tauranga and Rotorua where housing deprivation is highest with additional supply also identified in Whakatāne," the plan read.
Work was also under way to bring on further supply in Kawerau, Ōpōtiki and the Western Bay of Plenty, it said.
In Rotorua, new construction had not kept pace with the increased growth, with new building consents low and available land facing infrastructure challenges, including flooding and stormwater.
A shortage of housing meant more individuals and whānau were living in severe housing deprivation, the plan said.
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said she wanted more urgent progress on getting people out of emergency accommodation and into homes in the district.
"It's great to see Government restating its commitment to helping Rotorua address its housing challenges. I now want to see more impetus on producing homes and will continue to advocate and lobby at every opportunity for that to happen with urgency.
"Exactly how much of what's planned for the Bay of Plenty will be in Rotorua is yet to be confirmed, but the Ministry for Housing and Urban Development is working with Te Arawa and the council to confirm the programme of works that will underpin our housing strategy."
Ngāti Whakaue representative for the housing plan, Tupara Morrison, said the Government's announcement had provided the council and its housing partners with an "impetus to get things going".
"I think it's great to see the Government identifying Rotorua and the Bay of Plenty as a priority ... In terms of iwi Māori in the Rotorua district, it's a real positive for us and our people."
Morrison said the focus on social and transitional housing would have flow-on effects to the wider housing issue in the city.
"It's where the need is and by the Government doing this, it provides the impetus for developers of affordable and market houses to really come on board with rebuilding the Rotorua community as a place where housing developments of scale can happen."
Morrison said Ngāti Whakaue would have an ongoing role to play in the city's development of housing solutions.
"Our people in Ngāti Whakaue are all looking for solutions and we want to partner with the council and the rest of Te Arawa with how we can forge a path towards those solutions."
In a written statement, Ronji Tanielu and Greg Foster said the Salvation Army believed additional public housing was needed around the country and in Rotorua.
"We welcome the Government's announcement. We believe that the new plan is a step in the right direction. However, we are concerned that it is not keeping pace with the growing need for social and transitional housing throughout the country.
"The waiting list is now more than 22,000 people and increases by the month. We believe we need to be building more houses at a faster pace."
The Government's plan for Rotorua:
The Government is committed to supporting Te Arawa and Rotorua Lakes Council's Housing Strategy and believes the partnership is critical to increasing housing supply.
• $55m of shovel-ready investment is unlocking land for development
• Kāinga Ora partnership with Ngāti Whakaue to develop a large number of homes
• Work with council to give effect to the National Policy Statement - Urban Development to provide for future growth
• Kāinga Ora has scaled up its build programme and is progressing further opportunities