Draft Productivity Commission report on better urban planning now available

Aug 22, 2016 | Reports

The Commission released its draft report Better Urban Planning today. The inquiry examines the current urban planning system in New Zealand and the Commission’s report suggests different ways of delivering urban planning.


The Commission recommends a future planning system should:

• Make a distinction between the built & natural environment with clear objectives for each (Chapter 13);

• Favour development in urban areas, subject to clear limits (Chapter 7);

• Develop a Government Policy Statement on Environmental Sustainability to provide the boundaries within which urban development can occur (Chapter 8);

• Provide narrower access to appeals and tighter notification requirements (Chapter 7);

• Make spatial plans a mandatory component of the planning hierarchy (Chapter 9);

• Establish a permanent Independent Hearings Panel to consider and review new Plans, Plan variations and private Plan changes across the country (Chapter 7).

• Include more responsive rezoning through the use of predetermined price triggers to signal when land markets are out of balance and rezoning is needed (Chapter 7); and

• Make greater use of targeted rates and volumetric charges to fund infrastructure investment and maintenance (Chapter 10).

Next steps

The Commission is inviting submissions on its draft report Better urban planning by 3 October. The draft report outlines the Commission’s proposed findings and recommendations, 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. Submissions are due by 3 October 2016, and the Commission’s final report to the Government is due on 30 November 2016.

The draft report is available from www.productivity.govt.nz/inquiry-content/urban-planning.

Inquiry timeline

3 October: Due date for submissions on the draft report

30 November: Final report due to Government

Failed planning system only part of the problem say the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development

“In its ‘blue sky’ review of the New Zealand planning system, the Productivity Commission has correctly found that the planning system is failing, but their recommendations for change will not succeed without governance and funding reform,” says Stephen Selwood chief executive of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.

“The Commission observes that the principal planning laws – the Resource Management Act 1991, the Local Government Act 2002 and the Land Transport Management Act 2005 – are now complex to the point of incoherence and that New Zealand’s urban planning system overall lacks clarity, focus, responsiveness and is not achieving its objectives.

“Their identification of the primary purpose of urban development planning – enabling development and change; providing development capacity; and ensuring people and goods can move around – is especially welcome.

“The Commission’s frank assessment that the urban planning system is failing is clearly evidenced by house prices at unacceptably high levels and chronic congestion in our largest city. But unbalanced regional development and poor environmental outcomes across New Zealand demonstrate that the problems are much broader

Go here to see NZCID’s press release on this .

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