Rotorua locals want homeless outsiders gone

By Herewini Waikato

More than 500 concerned residents of Rotorua turned up to a public meeting this week to oppose the bussing in of outside homeless people into Rotorua. 

Discussions were heated at a meeting held this week. Member of parliament for National, Todd McClay, prepared the meeting allowing the community to share their views about homeless in motels and surrounding issues.

Todd McClay says, “We have seen crime rates increase and intimidation, gun, gang activity, drug dealing go up very very quickly and there are residents that feel unsafe. Elderly feel unsafe to go out of their homes”.

Sir Toby Curtis, Kaumātua of Te Arawa, is not happy the ongoning of bussing in of homeless into Rotorua for emergency housing has continued.

Toby Cutis adds, “The government can stop the outsiders from coming here. We are fed up and getting anxious.”

Director of Visions of a Helping Hand Tiny Deane was also at the meeting and some were pointing the finger at him for bringing in outside homeless people.

Tiny Deane speaking at the public meeting.

Deane says, “We do not bringing in homeless people. We do not have to. We have too many already. Every person in this country has a right to come where ever they want. They are running scared for their lives. They come to Rotorua and end up on my doorstep, I am not going to turn them away. It is just a fact of life, manaakitanga, love, care no matter what”.

Te Ao Mārama got in contact with The Ministry of Social Development whom deals with these issues and they prepared a statement outlining the following:

MSD response

"We are aware of the issues raised by local people and we take their concerns seriously.

The Ministry of Social Development simply does not proactively relocate people to Rotorua. It does not happen. 

In fact, the vast majority of people who receive emergency housing support are from Rotorua or have connections here.

In all other cases a very valid and clear reason is required before any emergency housing support is provided for people to relocate outside of their region.

It is important to remember we are dealing with people and children.  Most people who are supported with emergency housing are trying to do the best they can for themselves and their family.

The increased demand for emergency housing in Rotorua is a symptom of an ongoing shortage of affordable housing that not only affects Rotorua but New Zealand in general.

Rotorua is recognised as one of nine key areas of severe housing deprivation under the Public Housing Plan initiative, announced in January with the goal of increasing housing supply in areas of greatest need.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga is leading this work."

Todd McClay will present a report on behalf of the attendees to The Ministry of Social Developement, The Rotorua Lakes Council and The New Zealand Police.