Urban planning

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The Government has asked the Productivity Commission to look at ways of improving New Zealand’s urban planning system.

This inquiry follows on from the Commission’s investigation of how councils make land available for housing, which found that New Zealand’s urban planning laws and processes were unnecessarily complicated, slow to respond to change and did not meet the needs of cities.

The Commission has been asked to identify the most appropriate system for allocating land use in cities to achieve positive social, economic, environmental and cultural outcomes. This includes the processes that are currently undertaken through the Resource Management Act, the Local Government Act and the Land Transport Management Act. The inquiry will look beyond the existing planning system and consider whether a fundamentally different approach to urban planning is needed.

The Commission will begin the inquiry with the publication of an “issues paper” that will outline its proposed approach, the context for the inquiry and a list of key questions to be addressed. We expect the issues paper to be available in December 2015. The Commission will seek submissions from all interested parties and consult broadly to help inform and ground its analysis.

The final report to the Government is due end of February 2017.