Mandating strategic planning between local authorities, central government and industry is critical to the success of the government’s proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development, says Property Council Chief Executive Leonie Freeman
The National Policy Statement (NPS), which proposes new rules for how councils should plan for urban growth and development, must be underpinned by clear strategic and collaborative planning processes, if we’re to avoid the mistakes of the past.
Property Council New Zealand, Infrastructure New Zealand and the Registered Master Builders Association support the purpose of the statement, to enable growth and development capacity that meets the demands of diverse communities. But in order to achieve this, the statement must better identify processes for collaboration and planning that includes all key stakeholders.
Infrastructure New Zealand CEO, Paul Blair says that urban growth management has failed in New Zealand resulting in poor housing outcomes and infringement upon highly productive land. “Improved central guidance through an NPS will help, but the reason our growth cities are struggling is not because of poor central planning guidance. Inadequate funding for infrastructure, weak governance and statutes which don’t align are the real problems. The two NPS documents on urban development and highly productive land, if anything, exacerbate integration issues.”
“We need a much more collaborative process to align the public and private sectors, iwi and communities at every stage of urban development’s planning, funding and delivery. Spatial planning and the Construction Sector Accord are recent positive actions which we’d like to see expanded into urban growth management activities nationwide.”
“Signalling from central government and local authorities is also important,” says David Kelly, CEO of Registered Master Builders. “A forward work programme will provide certainty in the sector when making business decisions around employment, training and business investment.”
The NPS introduces a policy that requires only high-growth councils to create a “Future Development Strategy” (FDS). Key to industry is that this policy is taken a step further, making it mandatory for all medium to high growth councils, says Ms Freeman.
“Such a move would ensure medium growth councils aren’t left behind in planning decisions and are prepared for future growth. Aligning the FDS with council’s current planning system, in particular long-term plans and 30-year infrastructure plans, is also key to unlocking New Zealand’s growth potential.”
“The time for strategic planning is now,” says Ms Freeman.
“We need to start talking to one another and commit to coordinated planning between central government and local authorities at an urban level. This would ensure planning and funding for future development and infrastructure such as hospitals, schools and transport is coordinated across local authorities.”