Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Wellington District Plan: Accept The Commissioners’ Recommendations And Get On With Transforming Our City.

The Wellington City Council should accept the recommendations made by an independent panel that heard submissions on the District Plan, and get on with building a denser, liveable city, says urban design advocacy group LIVE WELLington.

Modelling released by the Wellington City Council has revealed that the city can easily meet its 30-year housing targets if it accepts the recommendations made by the independent panel of commissioners on the District Plan.

In fact, the difference between the housing capacity in the plan put forward by commissioners is only 2% less than the proposed District Plan councillors voted for in 2022.

“The panel of commissioners has suffered ridicule and abuse from some sectors of the community, as if their recommendations will put an end to any prospect of meeting housing requirements in the city,” says Jane O’Loughlin, LIVE WELLington convenor.

“Now it has been confirmed that this has been a very big storm in a teacup; both plans would provide more than enough housing to meet Wellington’s needs over the next 30 years, including in the inner city.”

Property Economics carried out a ‘feasible residential capacity assessment’ last month to assess the housing implications of the independent panel. Initially posted with the meeting agenda for this week’s meeting, the report was then removed as councillors are not supposed to consider ‘new’ information in making their decision.

The report shows the impact of the changes made as a result of commissioners’ recommendations, which include reinstating some of the character areas previously removed, changes to the walkable catchments and changing Adelaide Road from ‘city centre’ to a ‘mixed use zone’.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

The report estimates that the proposed District Plan (voted by councillors in 2022) would provide a ‘realisable’ 39,117 dwellings, while the panel’s version would provide 38,256. Both exceed the projected estimated need for 30,407 dwellings for the city over 30 years, and differ by just 2%.

“The new district plan is a big change for Wellington and will create the opportunity for greater density. The panel’s plan currently on the table is a good one, conceived after months and months of exhaustive consultation and hearings.”

A key difference in the version recommended by commissioners is that around 75% of character areas are retained. In the councillors’ proposed District Plan, these would be stripped back to about a third of what they are today.

“Wellington’s inner city character precincts are iconic, naturally dense and walkable areas that should be retained if possible – this is why so many people made submissions in favour of retaining a sensible portion of them,” says Jane O’Loughlin.

“The Property Economics report proves that excessive upzoning and removal of character areas will not make a difference to housing capacity or affordable housing. In fact many sites are already available, yet are languishing undeveloped. The economics of building need to improve for this to change.”

According to the fast track consultation process, no changes or appeals are allowed. If the council does not accept the commissioners’ recommendations, they can present alternative options that will either be accepted or rejected by the Environment Minister (although Housing Minister Chris Bishop has said he will claim the role from Penny Simmonds).

Council staff have already warned councillors that rejecting the proposals put by commissioners should not be done lightly.

“Trying to put up amendments will only prolong the process – for no discernible reason, given the difference in housing outcomes is so slight.

“LIVE WELLington hopes that common sense – not political posturing – will determine the outcome of the council vote on Thursday.”

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines




InfoPages News Channels


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.