Wellington – The New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) has hailed the Budget’s $2.1 billion public infrastructure package as a positive step for New Zealand’s planning future.
NZPI chief executive Susan Houston says the Budget funding allocation will deliver better transport and housing, especially for Auckland, and support for the Christchurch rebuild all of which will require significant input by planners, resource managers, urban designers and environmental practitioners.
“We are going to see a lot of planning work involved in the $100 million boost to Auckland housing which is great news.
“This funding will help in the use of public land for increasing the supply of housing. We do need to see an acceleration of housing development and a greater focus on bringing more affordable housing to the market.
“This process will involve identifying surplus public land, assessing its suitability for housing, negotiating and settling the purchase, the land being acquired for development either by iwi or a developer, and agreements being secured.
“NZPI is aware the Auckland housing crisis is one of the biggest challenges the city faces and upcoming changes to council plans will result in more development.
“The Auckland housing situation has already seen the construction of 9500 houses a year, up from 4000 in 2012. Residential building consents for the end of March this year totalled $4.1 billion, while 154 Special Housing Areas – an agreement between the Auckland Council and Government, has allowed for fast-tracking developments with the potential for more than 56,000 homes,” Houston says.
A total of 80,000 people are employed in construction in Auckland and about 1500 HomeStart grants have been approved for first-home buyers.
Houston endorsed the Budget announcement of a $100 million over 10 years to clean up New Zealand’s rivers, lakes and aquifers.
The Freshwater Improvement Fund is part of a broader package of measures to strengthen new national standards, introduce new stock exclusion rules, improve Māori participation and introduce new requirements for minimising nutrient losses and efficient water use.
“This fund will help communities improve water quality and quantity limits at a faster rate. The Government says priority will be given to projects that include funding from business or philanthropic funds.
“The Fund is in addition to $354 million already committed to specific freshwater clean-up projects since 2000, including at Lake Taupo, the Waikato and Waipa rivers, Rotorua lakes, the Manawatu River, Lake Te Waihora (Ellesmere), Waituna Lagoon and Lake Brunner,” Houston says.
“One other area in the Budget that NZPI applauds is transport where $357.9 million has been allocated to key projects including $115 million for roading in Gisborne, Marlborough and Taranaki and $190.2 million of new funding for KiwiRail’s national freight network.
NZPI’s audience involves influential decision makers such as industry leaders, business managers, environment lawyers, judges, local government, central government, property developers, architects, landscape architects, surveyors, technical specialists, planners, mana whenua, community groups, construction and development industry members, urban designers, scientists, researchers, academics and tertiary students.
For further information contact NZPI chief executive Susan Houston on 02108345603 or Make Lemonade media specialist Kip Brook on 0275 030188.