Planning for growth at Hukutaia
Ōpōtiki has worked hard and been very fortunate to receive a significant amount of central government funding for a wide range of projects (the harbour project, mussel processing factory, town centre revitalisation, footpaths, Te Tāhuhu o Te Rangi and many others).
At the same time, other key industries are doing well, growing and developing such as agriculture, forestry, horticulture, mānuka and all the businesses that support them. People are less likely to leave or they are returning home to fill some of these opportunities either from bigger centres or even from overseas as the international impacts of Covid are felt.
Most industries, even Council, are actively recruiting and feeling the labour shortage, particularly for experienced and skilled staff, acutely. So there is still more growing to do.
And yet the district is already facing a housing shortage. Most estimates put the shortfall at around 50 houses a year for at least the next ten years. There have been some desperate stories in the media with unsatisfactory housing or overcrowding, no emergency housing and very little Kainga Ora housing available. So we need to find a large-scale solution so that we can house current and future residents – that can grow as demand grows in a planned and sustainable way.
Council has very few levers to pull to encourage the building of houses. Some we have used already – selling available land to developers for housing, using zoning and planning changes to encourage housing, making sure we have an easy-to-navigate consents and compliance process.
One other thing that Council can do is apply for funding on the community’s behalf to open up a new area for housing. Unfortunately, our application to Kainga Ora’s Infrastructure Acceleration Fund was unsuccessful. While we investigate other options for funding, we will work with developers who have expressed an interest, and we will continue to plan with other agencies such as health and education so that they are aware of our long-term aspirations for the Hukutaia area.
Council is not a developer – but extending services encourages development. Currently, additional housing in Hukutaia would mean a continuation of the larger section sizes required for septic tanks, using up even more farmland. In contrast, the provision of wastewater services means more housing could be added in a smaller area, building homes faster and at a lower price for those that need them.
By planning ahead, council can consider growth as a whole so that we can plan and budget for other important factors like access and transport, playground and facilities, zoning for retail and services (health, childcare, shops etc).
Where to find out more:
- Frequently asked questions
- One-pager explanation of Hukutaia Growth Plan
- Council paper that includes the updated Hukutaia Development Plan
- Media release about unsuccessful IAF application
- A deeper look at Hukutaia in Ōpōtiki’s LTP – media release (Apr 2021)
- Hundreds of submissions on LTP (media release May 2021)
- Council seeks govt funding to extend Hukutaia - media release (Aug 2021)
- Council progresses plans for Hukutaia Growth Area (Dec 2021)