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My Concerns around intensified housing in Ohakune

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

Moving people into a block or subdivision of social housing means those residents that want to change their position, don't have the opportunity, or have to work harder to escape the stigmatism that comes with being on welfare, or receiving government support. Neighbours in the complex know you are in need and living on government subsidies and residents of the town, who won't understand the circumstances behind the need of some people in the housing development, may assume that you are simply taking from the government, with no desire to give back to the community, this can create a sense of guilt, or shame.


Have a read of submission #12 on page 15 from Taumarunui Women's Refuge, they nail it on the head and cover what we have been saying from the start.


[People] "most in need are being told they need to leave town in order to get housing - but in doing so they are being cut off or discnnected from their whanau and support networks. Not only is this unfair - it is setting them up to fail as more often then not, these people will return to Taumarunui and be no better off after failing to get the other social needs they have met where they are going. Our current treatment and mentality towards housing does not support mental wellbeing, tikanga or whare tapa wha approach"


I also want to address the fact that, no matter how you try and say it, there is an increase of anti-social behaviour that tends to follow intensified social housing developments entering a community. I have concerns, that local gangs could easily find prospects by simply visiting an area that they know houses families which are suffering from being displaced, and other trauma and take advantage of those looking to find a place to belong. All they would have to do is drive into the subdivision to find kids (or adults) that are looking for support, without strong ties to their families for whatever reason, and offer them something better. We might as well put a flashing Vegas neon sign on Teitei Drive welcoming the idea.


Scattering social housing around the Ruapehu district means those in need, that want to change their lives, and that of their children and build a life where they feel included in the community; can do so and they deserve the right to be able to choose to do this. It gives people anonymity and privacy from being generalised or categorised.


Despite what some people think, I am not against social housing and I understand there is a need for it. My personal concern for the business I have in the community, is also accompanied by a real concern for the lack of consideration that has been put into ensuring those that may be moved into the area have the support they require to thrive, as well as access to affordable amenities such as doctors (including counselling support services), supermarkets, long term job positions and more.


In regards to Ohakune itself, the information that KO and RDC are releasing to the public are not transparent. While looking at stage 1 alone (not stages 2-3), a big concern I have highlighted is that rather than 15 homes in Stage 1 being social housing, there is potential for all 44 to become social houses. Which if not managed correctly, with the correct support structures in place has the ability to become a problem.


There are no existing plans or policies (or council will not provide them) for the "Workers Accomodation" plan, which would ensure the houses earmarked for workers, would only be able to be used for this purpose. The affordable homes being proposed, will cost more to build than what is available on TradeMe to purchase off the market right now - so why would someone pay more for less. This may mean people will be relocated into Ohakune, rather than accommodation being provided for them, in their local town. Some of these people, that will be relocated, are of the most vulnerable in surrounding communities. Re-locating them away from their newly developed support systems, and not providing them with new ones, is setting many up to fail and fall back into the very situations they have worked hard to leave. Social housing, needs to provide real opportunities for long term growth and development of people and families, not just provide a bandaid solution. This concern is shared by Taumarunui Women's Refuge:


"There is a significant gap with social housing in the Ruapehu area - particularly Northern Ruapehu. Not only are there not enough suitable houses - the other supports that exist and should be where people turn to for help are lacking. In particular, Kianga Ora has limited to no options in Taumaurunui and have told me just this year they have no intentions to buy in Taumarunui and cant support us as an organsiation more than they already do.


Kianga Ora has advised they their ranking/matching system pairs people with suitable houses - as such, a solo mum with one child would usually only be paird with a two bdroom house - of which there are next to none in town, meaning we have clients in our Safe house for months waiting for houses that don! exist, or who are having to leave Taumarunui for housing."


The reality of this development is that no discussion has been had, to ensure that the needs of the community and that may be moved into the community will be met. KO has said it is not their responsibility, they simple provide the housing. So the question is - who covers the rest of what is required to make this community thrive and grow together?

If you have concerns, like me, please sign our petition at https://chng.it/K6F8QnRCZQ

Ohakune is a population of around 1200 people; we are already at over 750 signatures



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