Housing has been a very hot topic in recent times with both central and local government coming under increasing scrutiny about what they are doing to help alleviate pressure on the availability of accommodation. Government has sent a very clear message to Councils that they are to focus on freeing up more land for housing.
The Marlborough District Council has recently re-zoned land that is projected to cater for residential growth over the next 30 years.
Council needs to explore some next steps however.
The Council has understandably to date taken a prudent approach to the development of its own subdivision in Taylor Pass Road. A staged development in keeping with what commercial developers would do. It is now time however for serious consideration to be given to acceleration of the development. We hear repeatedly that opportunity for new home construction is being missed because of a lack of quality sections. This needs to be dealt with especially when some of those considering building are people from outside our region. With up to 90 sections still able to be developed in Taylor Pass beyond Stage 4 the Council is able to have a very direct influence over section availability and therefore housing availability, unlike most other Councils in the country. The opportunity is there for the new Council.
The speeding up of the Council’s own subdivision and it’s exiting of land development will also see Council take its rightful place of regulator and enabler rather than regulator, enabler, and market participant. While the Council is quite right to extract maximum value from land that was purchased by it several decades ago it is also appropriate that it work actively to be in a position more in line with community expectations.
As part of its housing focus Council could also be setting a target for the number of new sections it wants to see come to the market each year. This would maintain a real urgency in working with developers to see subdivisions completed. Certainly while housing demand remains so strong.
The Council could also be better connected to the needs of the overall housing market. Appointing one or two Councillors to a housing portfolio with their brief being to get the best out of Council in dealing with the accommodation needs of the region. Nationally we have three Ministers dealing with housing. Locally we could do with some over-arching focus.
Marlborough has now laid the platform to seriously focus on attracting people to work, live, study and do business in our region.
Destination Marlborough has done a very good job in getting the visitor message out to the rest of New Zealand and our key international markets. The province must now however put much more effort in to not only encouraging people to have a short stay in Marlborough but also for an extended period.
If elected Mayor Brian Dawson intends exploring with Destination Marlborough the role they could play in enticing not just visitors but temporary or permanent residents. With the strengthening of our regional identity through the development of the Only Marlborough and Brilliant Every Day brands the province now has an even stronger message to take to the rest of New Zealand and the rest of the world.
Through his work with Council Brian is very aware that Marlborough is facing an aging and eventually declining population if we don’t pursue a plan to attract more people and more families to our slice of paradise. To ensure that we can retain the services we want and continue to improve our infrastructure then must spread the rates burden across a greater number of people.
We are already being to see the migration we want with people relocating out of Auckland with the much lower cost of Marlborough property having tipped the balance in favour of them moving to the sunshine capital of New Zealand. These people have great stories to share and one of the opportunities in front of us is get them in front of a camera to let Aucklanders and others know why Marlborough should be their home also.
“The loss of jobs at Safe Air, Annies, and TH Barnes & Co Ltd has further highlighted the need for Marlborough to grow” says Mayoral & Council Candidate Brian Dawson.
We were all deeply saddened this week to learn of the significant job losses in our community. The effect will be strongly felt with many families now having to reconsider their future. The stark reality of the changing fortunes of business and the lasting effects of the Global Financial Crisis clearly signal that as a region we must be growing to help create the well paying jobs that will help keep families in Marlborough.
The new Council along with the Chamber of Commerce and other business leaders must step up and lead the community down a positive path of growth.
Events this week only reinforce the key role that the Council has in being an enabler of business in our region. We do not have the luxury of pushing away business opportunities that would have created the much needed well paying work the people made redundant this week will now be seeking. The Council’s attitude to the development opportunity being offered by New Zealand King Salmon needs to be reflected upon. The significant employment creation being proposed by the company both on the water and on land would have been very welcome at this time.