A recent article in the National Business Review 'Urban planning: new approaches needed' by Nicholas Green, Principal Adviser, New Zealand Productivity Commission,
was a well written reminder that 2016 is shaping up to be a busy year for planning
in New Zealand. His focus was the Productivity Commission’s current inquiry
into whether we can come up with a better planning system for the country than
the one we have now. I think we certainly can.
Our planning regime is primarily based around
three key pieces of legislation: the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), the
Local Government Act 2002 (LGA), and the Land Transport Management Act 2003
(LTMA), along with a myriad of national, regional and city/district level
planning documents produced under these Acts that are in a constant cycle of
preparation, review and amendment all around the country. Each of these Acts has
been amended numerous times since their inception – which in the case of the
Resource Management Act was 25 years ago – with the result that they are now
complex and fragmented. Frankly, I have lost count of the number of band
aids that have been applied to the RMA.
The latest band aid is the Resource
Management Amendment Bill 2015 that was introduced late last year and is
currently before the Local Government and Environment Select Committee.
Submissions are being received until 14 March 2016 and there are some good 'tweaks' proposed. But tweaks they are, and that is where the blank sheet of
paper approach being taken to the Productivity Commission’s current inquiry is
appealing. Submissions on the Commission’s issues paper close about the same
time, on 9 March 2016.
big supporter of the important role of planning and resource management in New
Zealand. It’s just that in my role as General Manager Planning for Harrison Grierson,
working for a diverse range of private sector and public sector clients
nationwide, I often think of the massive process costs involved and whether
they are really warranted by the outcomes. We‘ll never take the controversy out
of some planning and resource management issues, as planning fundamentally
involves reconciling different points of view and conflicting interests; and
there will always be those differences. However, I do believe we can create a
planning and resource management regime that better supports growth and
investment, while still valuing and protecting our environment; and I think
this starts with taking the complexity
out of our planning and resource management processes.
Just as in politics, where they say you shouldn’t
complain if you haven’t voted, the same goes here. Let’s take the time to
contribute our ideas on the short term fixes (the RMA Bill) and the longer term
fixes (the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Better Urban Planning), that
can make our planning systems better, stronger, and faster.
This thought leadership article by Andrew Collins, General Manager - Planning, is intended to provide you with insights and relevant information on urban planning. Our thought leadership articles on topical and specialist issues are designed to present the key points in an easy to digest and interesting manner.
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