Housing continues to be a hot topic around the council table, despite Central Otago District councillors previously rejecting a proposal to give $16 million worth of ratepayer-owned land to the Central Otago Affordable Housing Trust.

At last week’s meeting, councillors adopted a policy ensuring the use of different types of housing in developments on council-owned land, including detached, terraced and low-rise apartments.

The new policy will be applied to the next stages of the Gair Avenue development in Cromwell and the Pines development in Alexandra.

Speaking to the meeting via video link after testing positive for Covid-19, Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan asked councillors to consider putting provisions in place to prevent housing built on council-owned land being bought as holiday homes and not benefiting people in the region trying to buy their own homes.

‘‘At the moment we’ve got 75% of people have said do something about [affordable housing], we’ve got people who really have a staffing crisis in Central Otago because we don’t have people here.

‘‘We can’t solve all of this, but by god, it would be a failure if these houses got sold — and I’m sitting here in Clyde where a third of our houses are empty 90% of the time,’’ Mr Cadogan said.

‘‘If we set ourselves up to do that it would be a disgrace. Please think about it.’’

Councillors requested further advice on eligibility criteria that could be applied to the sale of the smaller footprint housing options to help get local buyers into the market who might not be otherwise able to afford a property.