Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean has hit out at opposition by a government agency to a planned residential development in Central Otago.
Mrs Dean said Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency needed to stay in its lane and not hold Central Otago back from building the houses it needs.
The Central Otago District Council is processing a district plan change which if successful, may lead to a 500-section residential development at Parkburn, about 10km west of Cromwell.
The area is used for a quarry but owner Fulton Hogan is keen to change its use once the quarry reaches the end of its operations.
It instigated the plan change last year and the council has asked for submissions on the change.
Waka Kotahi submitted it was against the proposal.
The agency was not keen on the project because of its distance from any larger towns and the fact there was no public transport.
It said in its submission it considered the proposed location of the site was quite remote from the existing main urban environments within the Central Otago district.
The subdivision would be about 10km from Cromwell, 40km from Alexandra and 45km from Wanaka and, since there was no public transport, heavy reliance on the use of private vehicles was expected.
The area was not identified for future residential zoning recently notified in plan change 19 of the Central Otago district plan.
The spatial plans were developed to manage urban growth in a manner that promoted an accessible walking and cycling town.
Further consideration had to be made for carbon emissions and potential climate change effects for the future development.
There were no provisions made for public transport.
Waka Kotahi did say it was keen to work with the applicant to find a way forward.
Mrs Dean said there was a housing shortage in New Zealand and she struggled to see how Waka Kotahi opposed the development.
‘‘Central Otago is one of the fastest growing regions in New Zealand. With a housing shortage driving up costs, it’s appalling that Waka Kotahi is opposing Fulton Hogan’s proposal for a residential and commercial development at its Parkburn Quarry site near Cromwell.
‘‘We need to spread growth around and build quality houses that serve this region well. Any proposal should be viewed as an opportunity to alleviate current pressures and build towards the future.
‘‘Waka Kotahi should stick to its job and get on with projects that allow Central Otago to thrive.’’
She felt the submission from Waka Kotahi probably came from someone in Wellington who was not familiar with what happened in Central Otago.