Helping our cities grow up and out

A new approach to urban planning designed to allow our cities to make room for growth has today been released by Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford and Environment Minister David Parker.

“Our cities are failing. Restrictive planning is stopping our cities from growing, driving up the price of land and housing, and is one of the big drivers of the housing crisis,” Phil Twyford said.

“We need a new approach to planning that allows our cities to grow up, especially in city centres and around transport connections. We also have to allow cities to expand in a way that protects our special heritage areas, the natural environment and highly productive land.

“When overly restrictive planning creates an artificial scarcity of land, or floor space in the case of density limits, you simply drive up the price of housing and deny people housing options.

Phil Twyford said the proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development would direct councils – particularly in the six high growth centres of Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown – to free up their planning rules while focusing on high-quality streets, neighbourhoods and communities.

“We know that it is possible to create high and medium density communities with good urban design and open spaces that will reassure the most sceptical NIMBY. We also know that with good planning and transport infrastructure, growth on the fringes of the city can avoid the pitfalls of sprawl.

“Our Government wants councils to take a long-term strategic approach to the growth of their cities. This means joining up transport, housing and infrastructure in a 30-year plan that involves mana whenua and the wider community in a much more hands-on approach to planning,” Phil Twyford said.

“This National Policy Statement will sit alongside one on Highly Productive Land announced last week, to ensure we get the balance right and we develop in the right places. We need to house our people but we also need to feed them,” Environment Minister David Parker said.

“National Policy Statements help local authorities make good decisions about making room for growth, while ensuring it doesn’t come at the expense of natural environments. By providing clear direction to decision-makers, it will improve outcomes for communities through enabling more housing choices close to jobs and achieving quality urban environments,” David Parker said.