At a time when we should be leading on the home front, it is unacceptable that Hastings and Tukituki are being left behind.
Increasing demand for housing is a positive indicator for our local economy because population growth powers our district and will propel Hastings forward.
Right now we should taking every opportunity, addressing supply and feeding the market demand, but instead, we are wasting it.
Whether you live in Flaxmere or Hastings or Havelock North - all communities are facing different challenges on housing.
While we need to focus (and rightly so) on supporting those in our poorest areas, it's not until we start looking at how housing is also impacting on other communities like Havelock North that the wider issues start hitting home.
Think of how the Havelock North community has been treated lately - on water, on education and now on housing. Take a once-promised school, more residential housing development and mushrooming job opportunities - these are all connected, but won't happen without each other.
In recent submissions, the new Heretaunga Plains Urban Development Strategy (HPUDS) report is anticipating 350 new sections in Havelock North's Brookvale Rd, and a similar number in the Romanes Drive block.
Add the long-awaited Arataki Extension of 220 sections, which can come on stream once the mushroom smell is fixed.
While some of these sections may slowly start to come on stream later in the year, we should be picking up the pace right now and fast tracking land development to meet growing demand for housing. People want to buy here!
It's so disappointing for our local building sector, (and the hundreds of tradespeople and businesses who work and service it), which is crying out for new residential sections in Hastings and Havelock North which instead, are looking elsewhere for work.
Te Mata Mushrooms has recently applied for a new resource consent to expand its operations. This will bring hundreds of more jobs and greater economic activity, but we need to sort out the smell.
As your aspiring local MP I have talked with many local people. What's in favour is a very simple solution to get things moving. Introducing a development levy tagged to every new section sold around Arataki/Brookvale area would help with the cost of fixing the smell that's impacting on land development and local residents' wellbeing.
Of course there are those who are against this idea, fearing it will set a precedent of subsidising other business and industry. But given all the opportunities that are inter-connected, I think this levy is worth an exception.
A levy would mean all the Arataki sections could be brought straight to market using existing infrastructure already in place and releasing of new land for rezoning in Brookvale Rd and Romanes Drive could start.
If I was your local MP I would also be seriously looking at the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity. It could be invoked for helping fast track land for development in Havelock North and Hastings - which recently saw land released in Hamilton and Drury within 23 days under this new legislation.
We need to lead, not dilly dally of the home front.
We have families in desperate need of a roof over their head. We have first home buyers and local homeowners who are being priced out of our once-affordable market. They simply can't compete with cashed-up Aucklanders.
And then there are those, on all budgets, wanting to invest, build, work and retire here, but can't because is very little land or property to meet growing demand.
Compounding on this unprecedented demand for rental accommodation, forcing up costs and putting more families under more pressure. And then we have state houses being left empty and sold off while vulnerable children are living in hotels, caravans and sheds.
Actions speak far louder than all the words and hollow promises that our community has been subjected to for years. While other provinces and cities in New Zealand, including our neighbour Napier, are opening up far more residential development for different budgets, Hastings under procrastinating leadership is losing out.
It's time we put more people into more homes.
We can do this by changing things up, injecting new energy, fresh thinking and far more aspirational leadership. Let's start hitting some big home runs for Hastings and Tukituki.
Hastings-wide we will lead on housing under a Labour Government
- We will work with the private sector to cut through red tape and get new homes built, partnering with developers, councils and iwi to undertake projects.
- We will address housing supply to help open up development and feed the local market demand.
- We will put more people into more homes and to support the social and economic growth of all our communities.
- We will improve renting standards and ban foreign speculators.