New Rotorua mayor says emergency housing costing city millions

October 19, 2022

Rotorua's new mayor says central government must enforce an exit strategy for emergency housing in the city.

It comes as a report reveals the region's economy is struggling to pick up post-Covid and some tourists say safety concerns are keeping them away.

Incoming mayor Tania Tapsell says emergency housing has caused millions of dollars in lost revenue for the city.

“They've budgeted to use emergency hotels for the next five years in Rotorua. We've seen the impact of that potentially $92 million of lost revenue for having these motels- that's nearly half-a-billion dollars if they keep to their strategy."

The report found visitor spending is down, fewer are staying the night in the city and more than 10% of visitors are also worried about safety.

Rotorua Accommodation Network’s Nick Fitzgerald says people are more likely to visit for day trips.

"Undoubtedly we've seen a huge rise in day trippers and a real reluctance for people to stay overnight in Rotorua, unfortunately this has wide-reaching implications for the town those that stay overnight contribute more to our economy and create jobs and that's felt the width of the city."

Tourism operators struggling too with Debbie Guptill of Rotorua Tourism Investment Partnership saying it’s a catastrophe.

"In the last three months spend is down $17 million, that is catastrophic. If we continue on with that for another 12 months it's $92 million so we need central government to come back to our aid and fix these things."

Iwi Leader, Monty Morrison, agrees.

“My message to central government is we need help, and we need help with the load we've carried for the country and to help us build back better."

Housing Minister Megan Woods is set to travel to Rotorua tomorrow to speak with the new mayor.


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