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NZ at a watershed in terms of planning - NZPI

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealand is at a watershed in terms of planning and planners are in a unique position to guide, inform and influence the current national debate, New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) chair Bryce Julyan said today.

NZPI, which opened its annual conference in Dunedin today, has a collective responsibility to ensure that decision makers are well informed, that the changes to be wrought will achieve balanced outcomes that are sustainable and supportive of resilient communities, Julyan said.

"The theme of this year’s conference is Over the Rainbow, a timely theme given all that is happening in the planning space within New Zealand at the moment. Planning and resource management in NZ is in a period of reflection and change, as is evidenced by the raft of initiatives recently launched.

"There’s the Ministry of Environment 200-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill (RLAB), the Productivity Commission’s first principles review of New Zealand’s system of urban planning and the Local Government NZ’s Blue Skies: Planning and Resource Management think-piece. We also have the National Council for Infrastructure Development providing policy ideas after exploring urban and renewal planning in Australia and the United Kingdom.

"Our institute has moved quickly to be a part of this change rather than a passive recipient of it. The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill has been a major focus for the institute over the past four months, as has been the Inquiry into better urban planning by the Productivity Commission.

"We’ve tapped into the enormous tract of knowledge collectively held by our almost 2500 members via surveys feedback from our experts. We really have had an unprecedented level of engagement across all of our submission work streams which has enabled us to produce some quality work which will hopefully make a difference to the quality of the impending change.

"The focus of the feedback particularly on the RLAB has suggested some practical directions that could be built into the current planning framework now to address failings and gaps. However, in our support of our submission to the select committee, we will be underlining that the Bill represents an opportunity to address or clarify immediate operational problems, rather than as the platform for fundamental reforms."

More than 500 planners, resource managers, urban designers and environmental practitioners from all over the country are attending, including Building, Housing and Environment Minister Nick Smith, former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer and Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright.

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