A couple of related issues this year have highlighted to me how lacking in common sense and ability the Labour government and our Labour appointed council are when it comes to housing.
The first was the recent revelation that Labour has started housing homeless on Marine Parade, Mount Maunganui - probably New Zealand’s most expensive street outside of Auckland.
Doing this is plain wrong. We all care about the issues of homelessness and housing, but most New Zealanders don’t have the privilege of living there and surely Labour could get much more bang for the hardworking taxpayer’s buck in 100 other places - actually probably 1000. What this showed is that Ardern’s team has more money (from us) than sense.
The second issue I acknowledge is somewhat more complex, but even so, shows the seeming inability of the powers that be to act. Concerned locals have come to me as MP for Tauranga about increased social problems at Mount Drury.
I was told that drinking and drug use, parties, noise, graffiti and even fires and break ins at building sites and the like have increased. In addition, a homeless person has made a permanent home in the caves there, close to the beach, shops and children’s playground.
I have sympathy for this person, who I am sure needs significant assistance and housing, and I wrote to council about all of these issues. The answer? Silence.
And so, I am sure the social problems and homelessness will grow when, as I have written here before, the answers for Tauranga are relatively simple if there is the political will from Labour and their commissioners.
Get on with transforming our city’s big old state houses into many more new, fit-for-purpose homes.