Heather du Plessis-Allan: Rotorua's mayor needs to take a stand on emergency housing

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Mon, 10 May 2021, 4:21PM

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Rotorua's mayor needs to take a stand on emergency housing

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Mon, 10 May 2021, 4:21PM

Where is Steve Chadwick? Given what’s going in Rotorua with the emergency housing shemozzle, wouldn’t you expect the mayor to be kicking up merry hell and demanding it stop.

The latest news about this is gobsmacking.. Apparently motels are being forced to take MSD clients – as we call them nowadays –  because these people are booking rooms without the motels realising it.

So they book accommodat8ion through third party websites like expedia, and it isn’t until they turn up at the front desk that the motelier realises that this person is homeless .

And basically they realise it because the “client” hands over their MSD case number, tells the motelier to talk to MSD about paying the room rate and the motelier is trapped.

Because if they don’t want to be a homeless shelter and refuse to take the person, they get pinged by expedia and have to pay a penalty, so they’re literally out of pocket if they say no.

How these people know this trick we’re not sure. MSD denies that they’re instructing their clients to do it. Must just be that word’s got around.

But this is not OK.

Locals are so upset about this ruining the town centre: there’s intimidating behaviour, some patrons at a central  Irish pub have complained that they’ve even had food snatched off their plates, we’ve had loads of texts from truckies and so on who now refuse to stay in Rotorua because their vehicles get trashed.

Now if you have sustained complaints from locals, and it’s as bad as it sounds, don’t you think the mayor should be out there giving MSD and its minister absolute hell for importing homeless from around the country into her city.

This isn’t a criticism of housing homeless people as they need accommodation too, but surely you don’t overload a city with the homeless of every other place in the vicinity.

I’m unimpressed by Steve Chadwick. Of the two most prominent international tourists destinations in this country – Queenstown and Rotorua – I only saw one mayor constantly arguing with central government on behalf of his town and that was Jim Boult in Queenstown.

Chadwick was missing in action, same when it comes to emergency housing.

I hope as a former Labour MP she’s not putting her allegiance to Labour ahead of her allegiance to the ratepayers she’s supposed to be working for as mayor.