It beggars belief that the Ministry of Transport and Waikato Regional Council are putting up new obstacles to stall Sleepyhead’s plan to build an innovative, bespoke billion-dollar manufacturing headquarters and residential community with up to 1100 affordable houses for staff and families in semi-rural Ohinewai, says Auckland Business Chamber CEO, Michael Barnett.
“Here we are in the midst of a housing crisis and the private sector has a solution, willingly investing big money to create a new way with real benefits to attract and retain a labour force that can live, work and play in the same new town outside of the big urban centres in a house they can afford. It’s good for everyone. Projections indicate the project, a new concept for New Zealand, will generate 2600 jobs for the Waikato and around $200 million in annual revenues. What’s not to like? Why would anyone try and stop it except for the sake of halting progress to protect the way we were,” Mr Barnett said.
“The Ministry and regional council haven’t elaborated on why they are appealing again against the residential zoning approval, but have barrelled ahead because they can. They have ignored Housing Minister Megan Woods’ view that the project has “significant strategic strengths” and the Environment Court’s slam dunk, criticising the two entities for a too“narrow doctrinaire interpretation” to entrench their position while failing to consider, as they are supposed to, the wider benefits.
“The Sleepyhead model may well be the way of the future,” Mr Barnett said. “Government needs to take a lead, shake up the bureaucracy and demonstrate that it has the aptitude, ability and courage to take on the new, work with the private sector and make it happen for the public good.”
For more information, please contact Michael Barnett on 027 563 1150
Michael Barnett, Chief Executive, Auckland Business Chamber