Some people may have been taken aback when I said our cities are struggling recently. But it was not meant to offend local councilors or council workers who are working hard to look after their ratepayers and their local community, or the builders and construction firms who are constructing and improving our infrastructure and housing.
it was a noted that local and central governments have failed to look to the future, beyond the electoral cycle, and plan our cities for growth.
Overly restrictive planning creates an artificial land shortage and prevents our towns from developing and spreading out. That is driving up land and housing prices. In fact, it is one of the big drivers of the housing crisis. this also leads to various other problems such as including low productivity in our cities, congestion, and poor environmental and social outcomes.
Disappointment to arrange for the longer term has cleared out Auckland a meandering mess of growing suburbs with a higgledy-piggledy transport system. Visitors to our greatest city are confused that there's no clear line from the airplane terminal through the isthmus to the CBD and waterfront. At the other end of the range is Wellington which decades back was coherently outlined around rail lines, but presently ought to be able to develop.
National Policy Statement (NPS) on Urban Development released especially in city centers and around transport connections to describe new approach to planning that allows our cities to grow up. These proposed new legal requirements sit alongside a proposed NPS on Highly Productive Land that aims to allow our cities to expand in a way that protects our special heritage areas and the natural environment. This will guide councils to free up their planning rules while concentrating on high-quality streets, neigh bour hoods, and culture, especially in the six high-growth centers of Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown. It is easy to create high and medium-density communities with good urban design. And we also know that with good planning and transport infrastructure, development on the borders of the city can maintain a strategic distance from the pitfalls of sprawl. A long-term strategic approach is key solutions to the growth of their cities in terms of transport, housing and infrastructure.
In order to achieve an evidence-based, long-term, future-focused growth strategy for an area, Spatial planning is crucial element. We want our urban centers to be designed and structured in a way that is better for the environment, and that supports the next generation of low-emission transport options. We also want our centers to be focused on people, with access to jobs, services such as education and health, and other amenities that are essential for the wellbeing of our communities.
Investing in transport system and proper decision on housing developments provide benefit to our communities long term.
Our government is already taking this approach and is working on spatial plans with councils in the Waikato, Tauranga and Queenstown. In the Waikato, we are working with local authorities and iwi on the Hamilton–Auckland Corridor. This work aims to unlock the significant growth potential in southern Auckland and the Hamilton-Waikato metro areas, underpinned by new rapid and commuter rail connections that will direct future housing and employment growth in the Waikato.
Queenstown Lakes District Council and the Tauranga City Council where high population observed needs to work on spatial plans.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development is now analysing 242 submissions on the proposed NPS on Urban Development but better planning is encouraged in near future.
Our government is playing a more critical role in urban development than has been taken for decades. We recognise the need to create an environment that supports growth. For this reason, we are also working to improve the housing and urban system, to enable government and the market to build more affordable homes and thriving communities. It has been a decades talk for improving our urban planning and development planning processes. Our challenge is to work together to catch up, and to establish our own spatial planning practices that work for all New Zealand.