National to end Rotorua emergency housing motels

The next National government will aim to end the use of emergency housing motels in Rotorua within two years and get the city back on its feet, says National’s Housing spokesperson Chris Bishop and Rotorua MP Todd McClay.

“Labour has made Rotorua ground zero of New Zealand’s social housing debacle,” Mr Bishop says.


“Rents in Rotorua are up by $210 per week since October 2017, and up by $175 a week on average nationwide, which has led to a huge increase in demand for social housing.


“National will improve the way social housing operates to prioritise those most in need and at the same time, we will rebalance the private rental market by restoring interest deductibility for rental properties, taking the brightline test to two years, and making sensible changes to tenancy laws so there are more landlords and more affordable rents.


“Labour was warned of the negative effect its housing policies would have on Rotorua but it went ahead regardless. What should be a thriving tourist destination has instead become a showcase for Labour’s failure on housing, but a National government will turn that around.”


Mr McClay said Labour was also warned crime was likely to increase in and around the CBD, and those warnings proved to be well-founded.


“It’s time that Rotorua residents got their town back. National will rebuild and restore Rotorua’s reputation as a great place to live and as a high-quality destination for domestic and international visitors.”


Mr Bishop says National is determined to end the use of emergency housing motels around the country, and to end the use of motels in Rotorua within two years.


To achieve this, National will:


  • Establish a Priority One category for families in motels who have been there for longer than three months (12 weeks) which will put these families at the front of the queue for a social house. 
  • Tighten the eligibility criteria for emergency motels, so that only people genuinely in need can access a grant.
  • Require families receiving emergency housing grants to use those grants in the area they are currently living (ie. stopping them moving to Rotorua), unless there is a good reason not to.
  • Build more social houses  - through Kāinga Ora and in partnership with community housing providers (CHPs), and other providers.
  • Establish a Social Bond to partner with providers who can shift families out of emergency housing in the short-term – and keep them out in the long-term. Payments will reflect the long-term aim of ending emergency housing, and providing better outcomes for vulnerable families.


“Labour has put emergency housing and Rotorua in the too hard basket,” Mr McClay says.


“They’ve given up on what is one of New Zealand’s premier tourist destinations and given up on the people of Rotorua who just want their city back.


“National’s plan will clean-up Rotorua and get the town back on its feet.”


Read our plan to deliver better Social Housing here.