The house crisis in Tauranga only seems to get worse, according to a lobby group that is campaigning for a more equal society.
“The housing crisis has been around so long it runs the risk of becoming the new norm,” cautions Tauranga Closing the Gap chair and national secretary of Income Equality, Peter Malcolm.
He lays responsibility for housing directly on central and local government leadership.
"For many years central government permitted overseas buyers to push up house prices and Tauranga City Council, despite assurances to introduce new town planning rules to allow more intensification, has deferred that decision yet again,” says Peter.
Because of the upcoming local body elections, the TCC won’t make a decision on the plan changes around intensification until early 2020 and has suggested it may be deferred until a complete review in 2023.
Peter says there's some hope a new set of councillors will understand the urgency of relieving the housing crisis. "Another disappointment with council is around community housing, volunteers who despite receiving nods of approval have seen nothing tangible offered to demonstrate a shared solving of this societal problem."
Peter says on a national level it's yet another wait and see as the current "unsatisfactory" Resource Management Act, is being reviewed.
"It's well overdue but in the meantime, there's a rising number of working poor whose basic housing needs are having to be supplemented by the tax payer, playing yet again into the argument for the living wage to become the new norm."
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