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‘Act now’ call as committee vetoes analysis of housing report

It is time for action rather than more reports on housing.

That was the attitude from Gisborne district councillors, sitting as Sustainable Tairawhiti, when they decided not to seek a “detailed analysis” of a Manaaki Tairawhiti Gisborne Housing Strategy report, as was recommended, and instead proceed immediately to a workshop to develop an action plan.

No formal vote was held on whether to support the analysis, but Mayor Rehette Stoltz said the message from councillors was clear.

“We agree to workshop this and get action started.”

Council chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said the workshop would be “action-orientated”.

“Let's get into the workshop, bring some information and provide some direction.”

Councillor Amber Dunn said the Manaaki Tairawhiti report was a good paper and covered the issues adequately.

Councillor Shannon Dowsing disagreed, saying the detailed analysis would inform the workshop.

There had been significant changes since the report was written and the country was about to go into a recession.

There were many housing decisions to be made and he supported the detailed analysis and workshop.

Discussion about infill housing arose, with Councillor Larry Foster saying he supported any incentives to encourage subdivision development.

Infill offered one of the biggest opportunities to overcome housing shortages, he said.

He would like to learn from the workshop how many properties could be used for development.

Ms Thatcher Swann said surprisingly little subdivision was happening in Tairawhiti.

She questioned whether that was because the district's residents liked bigger sections or if it was a resource consent issue which needed to be swiftly resolved.

Councillor Tony Robinson said the council needed to know what areas could be subdivided. Another housing report was not needed to analyse the Manaaki Tairawhiti report. The council needed to determine what were the barriers and do that in a timely fashion.

Infill development was probably the most available source of providing additional housing.

Mayor Stoltz acknowledged the comments, which would be addressed by staff, but said the paper before them was a response to the Manaaki Tairawhiti deputation.

Ms Thatcher Swann said the council's planning division could say where housing developments could go. “It's not about can. It's actually around should you or why you shouldn't.” That required a workshop.

The Mayor said she would set a date for the workshop “to get this work cracking”.