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Too much planning

Too much planning

Urban planning has become too wide in its scope, increasing housing costs and reducing prosperity.

This is the view of BusinessNZ in its submission on the Productivity Commission’s draft report Better Urban Planning.

The draft report recommends scaling back planning rules and local government regulation, and improving infrastructure funding approaches to achieve more vibrant, prosperous and attractive local communities.

BusinessNZ’s submission agrees with many of the report’s recommendations.

BusinessNZ Chief Executive Kirk Hope says individuals and companies should have more leeway to build and develop where they wish, as long as they bear any associated environmental and economic costs.

"Regulating should be used more as a last resort, where there is a clear public interest in doing so, and more consideration should be given to compensation for loss of property rights caused by regulation," Mr Hope said.

He said funding of infrastructure needed a fresh look.

"Councils should receive better guidance on available funding tools to achieve better infrastructure. Rather than imposing new taxes it would be preferable for local government to explore working with the private sector in various ways to jointly build and manage affordable infrastructure."

Areas where BusinessNZ had concerns in the draft report included the suggestion of reducing appeal rights, and also the suggestion of a Government Policy Statement on environmental sustainability, given the difficulty of accurately defining what this is and the reduction in certainty this could pose for business and household investment decisions.

However the overall approach by the Productivity Commission was sound and valuable, Mr Hope said, and held much potential for improved local planning in New Zealand.

With submissions now closed, the Productivity Commission will present its final report on urban planning in November.


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