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Arrival of the Urban Development NPS welcomed

Media Release 2 November 2016


The National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity (NPS), to be gazetted this Thursday, is an important instrument to assist councils to meet demand for urban development.

Property Council New Zealand Chief Executive, Connal Townsend, says “we support an NPS that requires councils to make sufficient land available for urban development. This includes housing, business, retail and other development that underpin successful communities.

With the NPS the Government has added another vital tool to address New Zealand’s growing housing crisis. It supports the recently announced Housing Infrastructure Fund, and Special Housing Areas and social housing rejuvenation.

“We are pleased an NPS has been put in place, particularly as we have been advocating for it for well over five years. The NPS is a step forward where in the past councils have failed to address the need for new greenfield developments and growth-friendly planning rules to foster economic and urban growth.

“Nationally we have seen poor decisions regarding zoning land for both housing and commercial activity. For example, in Auckland we have seen a 350 per cent increase in the median price of a section over 25 years as the legacy councils did not zone enough land to meet the growing demand. Similar problems are occurring in Hamilton, Queenstown and other major urban centres. The flow on effect is we are now experiencing nationwide pressure on housing affordability.”

“However, we still have concerns over the definition of the term ‘sufficient’. Under the updated NPS, councils are not required to provide additional land over and above what is needed to meet demand. This could allow councils to understate demand and overstate capacity to avoid relaxing land use rules to facilitate development.

“The NPS will be a ‘wet bus ticket’ without greater guidance as to which tools councils should use to ensure there is more than sufficient development capacity. This includes independently reviewing the assessments and monitoring carried out by councils”, Mr Townsend stressed.

“Growth and development do not occur in preordained straight lines so the NPS must ensure council plans are responsive.

“It is crucial that the Government and councils use the extensive experience of the development sector. Private sector knowledge and buy-in is crucial to achieving successful outcomes under the NPS.”

However, Mr Townsend states that land supply is only one factor in the development of residential and commercial buildings.

“Roads, water, electricity and transport are all crucial to development but currently there is a massive lack of funding. The NPS will only be effective if there is sufficient infrastructure funding.

“There needs to be an important national conversation about how we fund the tens of billions of dollars of infrastructure which is needed as cities grow.”


About Property Council New Zealand

Property Council is a member-led, not-for-profit organisation offering a collective voice for the commercial property industry. Our members include owners, investors, managers, and developers of office, retail, industrial and residential properties, central and local government agencies and other property professionals. Our branches throughout the country represent some of the largest commercial property portfolios in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Hawkes Bay and the South Island and Otago region, the value of which exceeds billions. We have an interest in all aspects of the built environment, and promote sound policies and requirements that benefit New Zealand as a whole.

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