Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Integrated national development needed to deliver wellbeing

4 July 2019


“New Zealand needs a proactive approach to national planning and development to deliver wellbeing,” says Infrastructure New Zealand CEO Stephen Selwood.

“That’s the key recommendation from an Infrastructure New Zealand report released today entitled National Development: Insights from Asia.

“In March this year, we took 75 infrastructure leaders to Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai to see how these cities and countries have been so successful at accommodating growth and lifting national performance”.

“What we saw was a real wake-up call,” Selwood says.

“We all know about China’s incredible economic story and most now know that Singapore is one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

“But equally striking was the progress each government is making in terms of social and environmental outcomes.

“The same development model that the Singapore, Hong Kong and Chinese governments have successfully used to turn their economies around is now being applied to lifestyle and the natural environment.

“Cities are becoming cleaner, more sustainable and more liveable.

“Further, by growing efficiently, costs are being contained to ensure that rising incomes are not consumed by higher accommodation and living costs. Lower costs of living result in more competitive economies and higher disposable incomes.

“The key to this success is a national development approach to enabling growth and tackling challenges.

“Singapore and China have become expert in setting a clear vision for national development, defining the outcomes they want the nation to achieve and then delivering on those objectives through joined up agencies, plans and projects.

“Certainty of planning enables the market to invest with confidence, enabling a virtuous cycle of public and private sector investment.

“This approach to national development planning is similar to that which we have seen in successful western democracies like Ireland, Scotland and Scandinavia, and across the Australian states.

“In New Zealand, we don’t manage our economy or our wider society that way.

“Our system devolves regional and urban planning to councils. Central government provides little guidance as to how best planning can meet national objectives.

“At the same time, major funding sources, principally GST, income and corporate tax go to central government.

“This means councils operate on a narrow funding base comprising property rates and user charges with only a weak linkage to economic performance.

“Ratepayers typically oppose taxes being increased to pay for growth, so elected officials keep rates low and there is seldom enough money to fund much needed infrastructure.

“Under pressure to contain costs, councils regulate land supply and defer infrastructure investment. Lack of infrastructure serviced land causes land and home prices to rise resulting in a housing affordability crisis for those on low to median incomes. Increased housing costs mean less disposable income, a decline in well-being and an increase in inequality and other social challenges.

“Compounding matters further, weak infrastructure imposes costs on business, disincentivises investment and constrains our ability to lift productivity.

“We all know that Singapore and China have vastly different political systems to New Zealand. But this is no reason why we cannot emulate their ability to set a vision and develop a national plan to unlock the potential of our free market economy.

“We are a small nation endowed with natural resources and talented people. While we lack scale, we could be agile and able to respond quickly to national opportunities and challenges. This should be New Zealand’s competitive advantage. But to realise this potential we need to lift our vision beyond self-interest and local parochialism and develop a system which incentivises partnership and collaboration.

“The resource management framework has not only failed the environment, its focus on negative effects has left New Zealand with an unclear vision and pathway for how the country should grow and develop. It must go.

“We need to simplify local government structure and laws and link funding to investment in regional and national development.

“Central government has to get back into planning. New Zealand needs a national plan which identifies and enables investment in land, housing, transport and other critical services needed to enable sustainable development and tackle major challenges like climate change.

“Rather than just managing negative effects, the system should promote environmental restoration and development.

“Planning is a very powerful tool, so we need to balance centralised power with greater devolution of funding and delivery. We need stronger regions with spatial planning capability and access to GST or a share of income and corporate taxes to fund and deliver their plans.

“Central government should transition from a funder and provider of services, to an enabler of strengthened regions via strong national guidance.

“This means substantive change. It’s going to take some time to empower regions to plan, fund and deliver national development.

“The first milestone could be for the Government to use financial incentives like ‘city’ or ‘regional’ deals, to incentivise councils to work together, partner with business and promote alignment between national, regional and local objectives.

“Once benefits of collaboration can be tangibly demonstrated this can be a stepping stone to full reform of our planning laws and the purpose, form and funding of local government.

“Establishing a system that aligns central, regional and local council planning, funding and delivery and which promotes individual enterprise, entrepreneurship and local identity provides an opportunity to improve wellbeing for all of New Zealand,” Selwood says.

A copy of the latest Infrastructure New Zealand report National Development: Insights from Asia can be found here.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Global Factors Facing TV3

Oaktree Capital gave MediaWorks a gallows reprieve in 2013 by pushing out its former Australian owner Ironbridge and facilitating a receivership-driven restructure that enabled MediaWorks to shed a burden of tax liabilities and international programme purchasing contracts. Oaktree eventually assumed 100% ownership of Mediaworks in 2015.

But here’s the rub. In May of this year, Oaktree itself was bought into by the giant Canadian firm Brookfields Asset Management... In the light of the Brookfields stake and the uncertain state of the global economy, Oaktree has come under pressure to shed and/or streamline the underperforming assets in its portfolio. More>>

 

Bullying Investigations: Police Commissioner Announces Independent Review

Police Commissioner Mike Bush has today announced an independent review of the systems and processes NZ Police has in place to address complaints of bullying. More>>

PM's Post-Cab: Now We Are Two

Questions covered Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters' comments on the potential closure of Mediaworks' television channels, the Auckland light rail planning process, the select committee report on the Zero Carbon Bill and its methane target range... More>>

Court Issues New Guildines: Revamp Of Meth Sentencing Welcomed

The court accepted submissions by both the New Zealand Bar Association and the New Zealand Law Society that rather than solely focusing on the quantity of meth involved, there should be greater focus on the role of the offender. More>>

ALSO:

'Armed Response Teams': Armed Police "Will Cause American-Style Shootings"

The Police Commissioner's announcement that squadcars of officers with automatic rifles will patrol New Zealand's streets is dangerous and unnecessary, according to the criminal justice community organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa. The ... More>>

ALSO:

Control Orders: Amnesty Says Don't Rush Terrorism Bill

"The problem is, we often see the word “terrorism” being applied broadly by oppressive regimes to detain innocent people who're simply rallying for a better life." More>>

ALSO:

Expert Reaction: $17 million To Fight Online Extremist Content

The Department of Internal Affairs will double its work investigating and preventing violent extremism online. Funding will also help bolster the Chief Censor's work to make fast decisions about harmful content. More>>

ALSO:

Could Do Better: Post-Sroubek Review Of Deportation Info

Ms Tremain acknowledges that the review highlighted some aspects of the process that can be improved and makes five main recommendations to strengthen the existing processes for preparing files for decision-makers. Those recommendations are: More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A New Book On The Leaky Homes Scandal

We all know that journalism is short of cash and under pressure from the speed, brevity and clickbait pressures of the 24/7 news cycle… but hey, given the right subject and a sufficiently stubborn journalist, it can still surpass most of the works of the academic historians... More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels