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Government must 'build houses now', Ōpōtiki mayor pleads amid housing crisis

An East Coast mayor has welcomed the Government's investment in housing, but says it must "build houses now".

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Ōpōtiki Mayor Lyn Riesterer says her town isn’t immune from the housing crisis. Source: 1 NEWS

Ōpōtiki Mayor Lyn Riesterer says her town has a housing crisis with only a few houses for sale and not many more for rent. 

"We are well above the national stats in all the worst ways and the lack of affordable and healthy housing is impacting lives and wellbeing in our community," she told 1 NEWS. 

She says houses are overcrowded, with people living in their cars, tents or finding short-term accommodation at "camp sites". 

The region successfully applied for funding from the Provincial Growth Fund, which will increase jobs and contribute to the harbour development.

However, the district has a severe state home shortage and is well below the national standard for state housing stock.

"Public housing should average about 3.5 per cent of your household stock in whatever area is being counted," Riesterer says.

"In Opotiki, in this particular town, we only get just up to two per cent."

She says the council is focused on key solutions including a clear regulatory environment, district plans which encourage development, and infrastructure through Government-funded projects.

"We have the land, we have the services, we have a clear need and we have a council that is ready to work with housing providers in the district," she says.