New Zealand needs to develop holistic spatial plans for its cities to improve planning and infrastructure development, according to a new government report.
The discussion document 'Building competitive cities – reform of the urban and infrastructure planning system', points out that poorly managed economic growth can have a wide-range of negative impacts on the local environment and on resources.
Long-term spatial planning can help ease the problem, according to New Zealand’s environment minister Nick Smith.
"We are not getting the right infrastructure in place at the right time," he 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 Plans are taking so long to develop they are outdated before they become operative.”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 document proposes stronger recognition in the Resource Management Act of urban design and infrastructure, reducing red tape, streamlining the process for plan development, better integrating local and national decision making and improving plan implementation.
The document says the urban planning tools used in New Zealand are either inadequate or are not being used in ways that complement the broader urban planning system, and says better systems and training are needed.
A trial “Spatial Plan Tool” being developed in Auckland will provide a high-level strategy for developing the region across the transport, land use, housing, and education sectors that relates to its geography, and seeks to achieve certain broad outcomes.
The strategy will then be used as a guide for more sector specific local tools.