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Nick Smith

12 October, 2010

Planning reform needed for NZ cities to be competitive

New Zealand needs to revamp its urban and infrastructure planning systems to make our cities better places to live, work and visit, Environment Minister Nick Smith says.

Dr Smith today launched the Government discussion document ‘Building competitive cities - reform of the urban and infrastructure planning system' with Auckland Mayor-elect Len Brown.

"We are not getting the right infrastructure in place at the right time," Dr Smith said. "Poor quality decisions on land planning are making homes too expensive. Plans are taking so long to develop they are outdated before they become operative.

"The key proposals in this discussion document are stronger recognition in the Resource Management Act of urban design and infrastructure, reducing the number of plans, streamlining the process for plan development, better integrating local and national decision making and improving plan implementation. The 51 proposals involve significant amendments to the Resource Management, Land Transport Management and Public Works Act and represents the most substantial changes for 20 years in urban planning.

"The Government has deliberately timed the release of these proposals after the local body elections to give the newly elected councils, particularly Auckland, the chance to have direct input into the new framework. Developing a new spatial plan for Auckland is one of the biggest challenges for the new Council and the Government wants to work with Auckland to get it right."

Dr Smith paid tribute to the work of the Technical Advisory Groups on infrastructure and urban design led by Michael Foster and Alan Dormer that have produced many of the ideas for reform in the discussion document.

"This important work represents an opportunity to better plan for the future of New Zealand's cities and ensure they are the vibrant, liveable places that attract people and investment. I look forward to submissions from councils, planning professionals and the public by 17 December that will enable the Government to progress the reforms in 2011."

The discussion document is available at: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/rma/building-competitive-cities-discussion-document/index.html

The TAG reports are available at: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/rma/central/amendments/background-info-phase-ii-reforms/index.html

  • Nick Smith
  • Environment