A blue skies approach to improving urban planning


The Productivity Commission has released an issues paper (PDF) calling for input on the future of urban planning.

Issues paper cover“Well-functioning cities matter a great deal to the wellbeing of New Zealanders and can help raise our productivity,” said Commission Chair, Murray Sherwin. “New Zealand is one of the most urbanised countries in the world, with 86% of our population living in cities. A good planning system needs to reflect the needs of all cities, whether they are growing quickly or slowly, or if their population is shrinking.

“Planning includes decisions about how land is used, whether for housing, business or industry, and when and how infrastructure is provided, now and in the future. These decisions matter for the quality and affordability of our housing, the competitiveness of our firms, and the health of our environment.

“This inquiry is an opportunity to take a new approach to the planning process, starting from first principles. Our goal is not to review existing laws, but to look beyond the current model to ask how a new model can be best designed to respond to future urban challenges.”

In November, the Government asked the Productivity Commission to look at ways of improving New Zealand’s urban planning system, including the processes that are currently undertaken through the Resource Management Act, the Local Government Act and the Land Transport Management Act. It also includes elements of the Building Act, Reserves Act and Conservation Act that affect the ability to use land in urban areas.

The Commission has previously considered urban planning issues in its housing affordability (2012), local government regulatory performance (2013), regulatory institutions and practices (2014) and using land for housing inquiries (2015).

Better urban planning: the issues paper outlines the Commission’s proposed approach to the inquiry, the context for the inquiry, and a list of key questions that it is seeking feedback on.

The Commission is seeking submissions from all interested parties, including residents, businesses, developers, planners, iwi, local authority staff, community representatives and environmentalists, and will conduct a broad consultation process to help inform and ground the Commission’s analysis. Submissions are due by 9 March 2016, and the Commission’s final report to the Government is due on 30 November 2016.

More information about the inquiry

For further information, please contact Catherine Jeffcoat:

T: (04) 903 5160
M: 029 770 8697