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  • Andrew von Dadelszen

Tauranga City's CBD revitalisation remains stalled

What we got (top) versus the original vision (bottom photo)

Tauranga City was fast to demolish their Council Building, but two years on, there is no sign that they are seriously contemplating a rebuild. It turns out that the mold in the old building was not really significant, and the building should have been saved.

TCC governance set up a City Transformation Committee with terms of reference to:


  • To ensure that Tauranga’s urban form supports economic and social vibrancy

  • To enable Tauranga’s urban centres to thrive and provide a sense of place.

  • To enable the development of a vibrant, safe and successful city centre.

  • To ensure that council and partner investments in Tauranga’s built environment are economically and environmentally resilient.


  • Development and oversight of urban centres strategies, neighbourhood plans and master-plans.

  • Development and oversight of the Compact City programme in support of higher development densities and the provision of better housing options.

  • Leadership of plans for the city centre, including the Heart of the City programme.

  • Development of City Plan changes and related matters for adoption by Council.

What a disaster that turned out to be. Not before time, they have disestablished that Committee, but not before destroying much of the CBD's business community. The redevelopment of the CBD is going ahead despite, not because of, the City Council.

Where is the vision? There currently is no sign of it. We now have a new CEO in Marty Grenfell, whose appointment was one of the few good decisions that the current councillors have made. Hopefully Marty will get some cohesion, and New Zealand's 5th biggest city can regain its lost sense of vision, and embark on a regeneration of what was once a great place to live.

My advice to Councillors is to stop pining for the Port of Tauranga nestegg, that the Regional Council has nurtured since 1989. You had the same opportunity when you were gifted the cities electricity assets, but you sold them off, and then squandered the capital. Stop looking over the fence, and get your own house in order. The Regional Council isn't your saviour.

Our Regional Council also needs to improve its governance. For the past decade we have operated like a bloated cow - gorging ourselves on our Port dividends - allowing us to operate with little sign of efficiency and effectiveness. We, too, have a new CEO in Fiona McTavish. I believe that Fiona has what it takes to be an effective CEO, but she needs to be supported by strong and effective governance. Like Tauranga City, we have a long way to go when it comes to effective governance. Our blessing is that we have a near $2 billion investment in the Port, that has been a stellar performer in its own right.


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