About Growth

    Why is growth important?

    Growth creates opportunities – it means more homes to choose from and more jobs in a variety of industries, promoting a more flourishing economy and building communities. Well managed growth ensures that we have a well-functioning urban environment and the protection of what we love about our unique natural environment.

    What is Council’s role in growth?

    Council’s role isn’t about physically building homes and businesses. Its role is to facilitate and manage growth. This could look like District Plan changes to free up land for development, partnering with key agencies, and ensuring infrastructure is in place and ready for future homes and businesses to use in the right locations to achieve growth outcomes.  

    What is the risk of not planning for growth?

    If we don’t plan for growth now we run the risk of not achieving our growth outcomes and a well-functioning urban environment in the longer term. 

    Failing to plan could lead to barriers that may take a very long time to address. An FDS will help us to prepare well ahead of time so when the need arises, we will have sufficient space for growth to meet demand. 


    A lack of homes and employment opportunities has a flow on effect to the wider community. If it’s hard to find business land and a home, businesses locate elsewhere outside of the district and house and rental prices go up. It also makes it hard for business owners to find employees because there is nowhere for them to live. If businesses are not attracted to Rotorua and people are forced to live out of town, that hurts the economy as it means there is less investment and spend locally. 

    Won’t more houses and businesses impact infrastructure?

    Having a clear strategy for growth means we can align the 30 Year Infrastructure Strategy so investment happens at the right time and in the right places. Growth can be funded through rates recovery and external sources such as Central Government. A clear strategy will also help us to effectively lobby Central Government and its agencies to fund growth. That funding can be invested into infrastructure. For example, in July 2022 Council received $85million from the Government’s Infrastructure Acceleration Fund (IAF) for stormwater projects to enable housing growth. 


    What form will growth take?

    The draft growth strategy aims to provide a diverse range of housing choices that will meet the needs of future communities, and provide choices for different types of businesses to locate across the city. It enables and encourages:

    • Apartments and more intensive forms of housing to be concentrated within and around the city centre, where there is a strong employment base and excellent access to quality public open spaces and amenities.
    • Medium density housing elsewhere in existing neighbourhoods where we are likely to see a range of housing types delivered over time.
    • New and compact residential communities in Ngongotahā and in the eastside that will have a mix of housing types and will be located close to new employment areas in those communities.
    • The consolidation of commercial and community activities within existing commercial areas with opportunities for new and complementary centres and commercial areas to establish in the right locations.
    • Additional business opportunities that are intended to attract and encourage investment and create local jobs, and provide an incentive for existing industrial activities in Ngāpuna, Fairy Springs and Ngongotahā to relocate.

    What are our growth outcomes?

    The draft FDS is guided by outcomes that outline what the strategy is seeking to achieve. These build on Council’s Priorities, Te Arawa 2050 Vision, what we heard from the community, and Government policies that inform how we need to plan for growth. The outcomes are as follows:

    • Culture - Te Arawa reo, tikanga and values are woven into our communities and influence how our communities grow
    • Choice - We have a range of housing choices to meet the diverse needs of our existing and future community
    • Access - Our people live in a compact city where they can easily access jobs, services, education and quality open spaces
    • Connection - Our thriving inner city is our social and economic hub – supported by local centres that meet local needs
    • Prosperity – A strong economy will provide opportunities for our people to thrive. We enable businesses to grow in locations that meet their needs, and the needs of our growing population
    • Environment - The wellbeing of our taiao is connected to the wellbeing of our communities. We are committed to protecting and enhancing our environment
    • Resilient – We actively look for opportunities to reduce our environmental impact. Our communities are resilient to the effects of climate change and significant natural hazards
    • Investment – We prioritise smart investment in safe and reliable infrastructure to enable and support growth, where and when it is needed


    What is the preferred growth option?

    The preferred growth option focusses on the city as a whole with an aim to encourage intensification where appropriate. The benefit of this is homes will be developed where infrastructure already exists, is close to public transport, shops and community facilities and reduces carbon emissions by cutting down travel. 


    Because the need for more housing is so great, we’ve also had to consider space for new developments in areas that are suitable. We considered the city as a whole and options for greenfield development throughout. Through analysis and engagement with stakeholders, both Ngongotahā and eastside scored the best to accommodate additional greenfield growth required. 


    Ngongotahā has space that can be rezoned for new housing development, landowners and developers are interested in residential development there, infrastructure is already in place but will need to be expanded – this includes schools. 


    Similarly, eastside has space for long term housing growth, infrastructure is well set up for growth, supports the development of mana whenua and reduces travel needs (reducing carbon emissions). 

About the Future Development Strategy

    What do we need to plan for?

    A Housing and Business Development Capacity Assessment has provided evidence, based on current population data and growth projections, that shows Rotorua will need more houses and businesses over the next 30 years.

    HOUSING (30 years)

    • About 14,400 extra people in 30 years
    • About 9,740 extra houses needed
    • About 2/3 of growth in 1 & 2 bedroom households
    • Lower than average household incomes – more affordable housing needed in the future

    BUSINESS (30 years)

    • About 9,320 extra jobs in 30 years
    • About 94 extra hectares of business land needed including 36 hectares for industrial businesses.   

    About 14 hectares of additional industrial land to encourage heavy industry to relocate from Ngāpuna, Fairy Springs & Ngongotahā (from further analysis)

    How often is the FDS reviewed?

    Every three years, with a new FDS required every six years.

    (A three-yearly review of the Rotorua FDS and ongoing monitoring of development will help us evaluate how fast ou urban areas are growing and whether there is a need to speed up or slow down our response to demand).

About Consultation

    How can I have my say?

    The community can provide feedback on the draft FDS by visiting www.rotorualakescouncil.nz/FDS, by emailing FutureDevelopmentStrategy@rotorualc.nz or by talking to one of our team members at an upcoming engagement event. 


    Following the consultation period, a hearing will be held to allow people to talk to the points raised in their feedback. This will happen shortly after submissions close. We will be in touch with you if you want to present at the hearing to give you more information on the process. 

    What will you do with my feedback?

    We will review your feedback and summarise the key points in a report for the hearing. Following the hearing, the project team will analyse the feedback and evaluate whether changes to the FDS are needed. This will be reported to the Rotorua Future Development Strategy Joint Committee, chaired by an independent commissioner, which will consider all submissions and an officer report, and make recommendations back to the appointed elected members of both Rotorua Lakes Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Councils. Those appointed elected members will then decide whether to adopt the draft FDS. 

    Who makes the decision on what changes are made to the draft FDS and whether it is approved?

    The appointed elected members of the Rotorua Lakes Council and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.


    To support this decision making, a Joint Committee, made up of appointed elected members from Rotorua Lakes Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Councils, chaired by an experienced independent commissioner, has been established to hear submissions and make recommendations back to both Councils on the draft FDS, including whether to approve it, and if so, what changes are required to respond to feedback. 

    When will the FDS be adopted?

    The FDS will indicatively be adopted in October 2023 in time to inform the 2024 Long Term Plan.

    What is the role of Rotorua Lakes Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council?

    The National Policy Statement - Urban Development 2020 (NPSUD) (subpart 4) states that every tier 1 and 2 local authority must prepare an FDS. RLC and BOPRC are both tier 2 local authorities for the Rotorua district. The NPSUD states that if there is more than one local authority with jurisdiction over an urban environment (in this case Rotorua) then those local authorities are jointly responsible for preparing an FDS.