Local Body Elections: Hamilton mayoral candidates on housing

Hamilton city

It’s that time of the electoral cycle where you get a big fat envelope in the mail, with short blurbs about hundreds of people trying to win your vote for everything from the Mayoral office to the local licensing trust.

Who on earth should you vote for? We decided to help you make an informed decision – at least, in an area we are quite passionate about.

We asked Hamilton’s mayoral candidates for their views on the pressing housing issues in their city, ranging from Auckland’s influence to controversial house and garage regulations. Three responded. We thank them very much for their replies, and should the others get in touch we’ll update this post accordingly.

To ensure accuracy we’ve presented all answers in unabridged form. Enjoy, and hopefully this will help you in your difficult decision-making. Make sure you vote!

What do you see as the biggest housing issues facing Hamilton at the moment?

EWAN WILSON:

Affordable homes within integrated neighbourhoods that have access to parks and public transport. Encouraging developers to look at inner city developments and development in existing suburbs, i.e. infill. Making sure there is balance between development and sustainability, i.e. opening up new land for development.

IAN HANLEY:

There are 1088 houses for sale in Hamilton today and 681 to rent. There are 576 jobs advertised.  If we had an express transport system to Auckland, we could easily sell the houses and fill the jobs.

More jobs mean more rate payers which mean more facilities for the City. The main issue then is affordable growth for the City with the infrastructure and property design to develop an exciting future.

DAVE MACPHERSON:

Shortage of single person housing & affordable family homes.

 JACK GIELEN:

Affordable homes and enough housing to meet the current demand.Areas like christchurch and Wellington have 2000 homes available Hamilton has few available.

 

Are you concerned about how the Reserve Bank’s new loan to value ratio restrictions might affect first home buyers in Hamilton?

EWAN WILSON:

Yes, local council needs to lobby government to help people into new homes.

IAN HANLEY:

Yes, but this is a Government Issue.  There is no City better positioned to grow which has affordable housing and available jobs.

DAVE MACPHERSON:

Very, it will make it that much harder for low income families to become independent & well-housed. Is likely to affect about 300 Hamilton families, at least.

JACK GIELEN:

I am deeply concerned as only the rich can afford new homes The gap between rich and poor is getting broader.

 

Do you see house prices and affordability as issues in Hamilton? If so, how would you propose to address these if elected?

EWAN WILSON:

Yes, making sure new developments are affordable.  We do this by ensuring our development contributions policy and our district plan is workable for the developers, and secondly getting the balance right between growth, debt and rates so that the rates remaining affordable for those who live in the city.

IAN HANLEY:

It needs a team effort, Mayor, Council Regional Council Government MPs and local banks.  Having worked out a strategy together we would need to meet with the Minister of Finance and Stephen Joyce to get a regional housing policy in place.  We live in a new sub-division.  Plenty want to buy but cannot raise the deposit even though they can afford mortgage repayments.

DAVE MACPHERSON:

It is an issue, not as big as Auckland, but growing. We need to

a. Ensure that more than one area is open for housing development,

b. That large developers are required to provide a mix of housing options, and

c. that council increases its social housing stock, rather than divesting in that area.

JACK GIELEN:

It is a major issue. We need to lobby government and persuade banks to bring the minimum amount required for a house down. 

 

Does the Council have a role to play in providing housing for those who can’t afford to buy?

EWAN WILSON:

No answer supplied.

IAN HANLEY:

Yes, pensioner housing is an issue Council has to address but in partnership with community groups.

DAVE MACPHERSON:

Yes, see answer to previous question.

JACK GIELEN:

Yes indeed. It’s time councillors went in to bat on behalf of their citizens with more relevant policy.

 

Do you support the council regulations that require garages to be built at the back of new houses, thus pushing living areas closer to the street?

EWAN WILSON:

No I do not, furthermore I did not support the draft district plan as the issue above was one of the many things that concerned me.

IAN HANLEY:

No, I think it is unsafe if there are young children about, and having been a Police Officer for 15 years, having a rear garage does not prevent a home being broken into!

DAVE MACPHERSON:

This is a bit simplistic, as is the way our planners have expressed it, it’s about promoting the reclamation of the streets by the community, and promoting greater interaction between neighbours, etc.

Rows of garages down the street also look ugly, and say a lot about the car culture currently promoted – the first part of a house you get to is a garage?! Perhaps we are building houses for cars, with annexes tacked on for their drivers?! Having said that, I support promotion ahead of rules and penalties.

JACK GIELEN:

No, Its not aesthetically pleasing.

 

Finally, is there any other reason why Hamiltonians should vote for you as Mayor?

EWAN WILSON:

I believe you need balance, too far to the right and you have a mayor that has a philosophy of user pays, water meters is an example, but extends to reducing local services like libraries and pools.

Too far to the left and you risk expanding the business of council into areas that bit shouldn’t be in and increasing expense and debt.

I believe in empowering people, Councillors that Hamiltonians have elected have been elected for a reason, for their expertise, knowledge and interest, I believe it is a mayor’s responsibility to ensure each and every councillor is empowered, given areas of responsibility but also, and more importantly, accountability.

I believe we have to be proactive with our economic development, we need to proactively court businesses that compliment existing businesses. We need to create an environment that says Hamilton is open for business.

With proactive economic development we will be attracting more families, which means we have to make sure that housing is affordable and that neighbourhoods are family friendly.

IAN HANLEY:

As an Anglican priest, having been Dean of St Peter’s Cathedral, Navy Chaplain, Principal Chaplain NZ Army and been a Police Officer for fifteen years, I bring a wide experience to the role of Mayor.  I am a people person and an excellent communicator.  Young people matter and our River is a Taonga applauding the Maori King’s initiative to get it clean.

I have a vision for the future, sell our half share in the airport, retire debt, establish an arts center on the Museum site, get Riff Raff Square and Garden Place filled with people and activities, get free parking going in the City by a “Buy to park free” program, grow jobs, engage our tertiary institutions in creative ideas for the City, develop tourism opportunities with Hamilton Gardens, say no to water meters, yes to fluoride and realize that “Hamilton Rocks!”

DAVE MACPHERSON:

If you want a Mayor actively leading these sort of discussions in the community – vote for me. If you want a Mayor who will sit on her/his hands and let managers and planners make these decisions with little or no community input, then vote Hardaker.

JACK GIELEN:

 I AM FOR VOX POPULEI THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE.

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