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New era for second generation tech e-planning

Technology - article by Make Lemonade NZ

Dunedin – April 14, 2016

Resource management reforms will accelerate with increasing technology to improve service delivery, largely through online planning tools, the New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) says.

The benefits of technology are featuring in discussions at the NZPI annual conference in Dunedin this week. More than 500 planners, resource managers, urban designers and environmental practitioners from all over the country are attending.

The conference has featured the latest online tools that are being developed to help planners, regional and district councils and other consent agencies drive efficiencies and accessibility though innovations such as online district and city plans.

NZPI chief executive Susan Houston says online tools are being used for e-plans, submissions, plan changes, tracking appeals, consenting and consent histories.

“District and regional planners are benefitting from geographical information systems. As exponentially growing technologies start to become more visible Kiwis will see more robotics, 3D printing, electronics and coding entering schools as parents realise how important technology will be for their children’s future planning.

“We expect to see an increasing public awareness and desire to engage in planning discussions about the role of technology throughout New Zealand. The introduction of fast broadband has been one of the biggest tech-digital advances in New Zealand. Ultra-fast broadband is essential for New Zealand’s economy as without connectivity we would be unable to compete in a connected world. The fact that we are deploying it faster than any other country in the world means we will have an opportunity that other countries won’t have for a little while.

“We are the easiest place in the world to start a new business and second for ease of doing business according to the World Bank’s latest Doing Business Report. New Zealand is also recognised for its planning innovation, recently listed as the 15th most innovative economy in the world (2015 Global Innovation Index).

“Tech, in its broadest sense, offers opportunities for all of New Zealand and has the ability to transform and disrupt both traditional sectors and create new industries, business models and markets. Other New Zealand centres especially Christchurch are also performing strongly in the tech space, which is great to see. Careful planning will really help drive the future of New Zealand’s economic growth.

“We are seeing the convergence of cloud computing, mobility and data analytics. The tech sector is the fastest growing sector in New Zealand and now the fourth largest exporter ($6.5billion), employing around 100,000 people,” Houston says.

More than 500 planners, resource managers, urban designers and environmental practitioners from all over the country have been discussing major planning issues affecting New Zealand at the Dunedin conference this week. Speakers include Building, Housing and Environment minister Nick Smith, former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer and Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright.

For further information, contact Susan Houston, NZPI chief executive, on 021 08345603 or Make Lemonade media specialist Kip Brook on 0275 030188

Photo: NZPI chief executive Susan Houston

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