Confusion in debate over residential Peacocke Development

Hamilton mayor Andrew King
Hamilton mayor Andrew King

Hamilton City Council's 10-year plan discussion started on Wednesday with confusion, accusations and a hot debate over the Peacocke development.

The Peacocke development — which would open up the southeast of the city for new residential development — survived an intense debate as several councillors were unsure of whether to continue with opening the new growth cell.

Last week Hamilton mayor Andrew King released his 10-year plan to elected members, who had five days to read the 1000-page document.

The plan is expected to take a few weeks to debate, but on Wednesday the council descended into early confusion as councillors struggled to get their heads around the document.

"I'm not sure what sort of elitist bubble some of you people are living in, thinking about theatres and parks. What about a blimming home for the kids."
Councillor Garry Mallett

The going back and forth between the graphs and reports in the agenda was one of the reasons for confusion.

Mayor King's recommendation was to approve Peacocke as the preferred growth scenario and the basis for preparing the 10-year plan.

It also included approving $813.3 million of capital expenditure over the 10-year period of the draft plan for the provision of growth infrastructure.

In July 2017, Hamilton City Council secured a $272 million 10-year interest free loan from the National government towards the Peacocke development proposal, $182 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund and $90 million subsidy from the NZ Transport Agency.
Mayor King said that the new government will honour this loan.

Councillor Paula Southgate attempted to amend the motion by asking Mayor King if they could ask central government to push it to 20 years instead.

"No, I am not prepared to do that. I have done multiple trips to Wellington," Mayor King said.

"I went down and basically asked the new minister with Richard Briggs beside me, and he said they would honour it, but it is not their policy."

"We're doing really well to have a change of government where they are going to stand by what another government set up."

Councillor Southgate was concerned at how fast Mayor King was trying to push through the Peacocke development.

"I do want to vote for it and I probably will vote for it but I am just disappointed that we don't make a public statement to our resolution," Ms Southgate said.

Councillor James Casson was concerned that Peacocke development could follow the same problems Rototuna had with amenities.

Councillor Mark Bunting put his support behind the development for now but wanted council to negotiate more with central government.

Councillor Garry Mallett said that these homes should be the first things councillors think about over the amenities.

"I'm not sure what sort of elitist bubble some of you people are living in, thinking about theatres and parks. What about a blimming home for the kids," Mr Mallett said.

Councillors voted nine to two to continue the development, with Councillors Angela O'Leary and Casson against.

- Hamilton News

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