No transparency in National Policy on Urban Development
Everyone needs to be concerned about the draft National Policy Statement
on Urban Development that the Ministry for the Environment has released.
It is incompatible with the spirit of transparency and inclusiveness.
Those living in inner-city neighbourhoods need to be particularly concerned.
The summary that has been released (seeking
submissions by 11 October) is
so general that it diverts attention from substantive issues. Examples
are compromising the definition of amenity values and allowing unnotified
high rise, high density development before new district plans are in
place. Little if anything has been discussed by the media.
The complexity and technocratic
nature of the document is a further
barrier to both the media and the general public realising its
implications. There are acronyms galore. One overriding impression is
that those so far involved in drafting the document have an overwhelming
faith in the ability of the market to resolve the impediments to creating
adequate housing for all New Zealanders.
Other Ministries must be
consulted, and the deadline for submissions must
be extended to February to enable the public to find out the implications
of these proposals and to contribute to achieving a more balanced national
This is an issue that calls for close scrutiny
by the media. It will
require serious drilling down. It abounds with obfuscations and the