MEDIA RELEASE: Climate Change, Transport and Water Key Issues for Big NZPI Conference


22 March 2016

Climate change, transport and water are among key issues for the annual New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) national conference in Dunedin next month.

Speakers at the April 12 to 15 event include Building, Housing and Environment minister Nick Smith, former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer and Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright.

NZPI chief executive Susan Houston says global warming has catalysed a new era of planning.

“Most of New Zealand’s towns and towns are located by the coast where waves, the tide, wind and change in sea level can damage public and private assets. Managing coastal hazards has been a challenge over 25 years of Resource Management Act (RMA) experience. Recent high profile cases such as Kapiti and Christchurch demonstrate this is a serious issue for New Zealand’s environmental sustainability,” Houston says.

“Transport is another issue that needs careful and considered expert planning. We know Aucklanders can spend up to 20 days a year sitting in traffic and as a nation we are facing changes and big projects to address transport jams in our cities. We know getting people about by bike in an everyday fashion will become more common in New Zealand’s towns and cities in the coming decades, so let’s plan for that.

“Our planners are also working on increasing demands for water supply and allocation pressures on the groundwater resource. We also know many Maori are concerned at the modification of rivers and what they perceive to be inappropriate flow regimes. Also the amalgamation of Auckland’s eight regional and territorial authority stormwater departments into the Auckland Council Stormwater Unit has resulted in processing thousands of consents and complex compliance programmes.

“This conference is about planning for New Zealand’s future. New Zealand’s population is aging and living longer. The baby boomer generation sits on the cusp of retirement and we need to plan for both appropriate housing and caring for older New Zealanders.”

The conference has attracted more than 500 planners, resource managers, urban designers and environmental practitioners from all over the country and they will discuss major planning issues affecting New Zealand, Houston says.

“With a focus on the Resource Management Act (RMA) reforms and best practice implementation at a regional level, the exploration of key planning issues comes at a time when domestic and global opinion is shifting and planners with an in-depth knowledge of the challenges will be best equipped to meet the economic, environmental and sustainability demands of tomorrow.

“Planners have a critical role in shaping New Zealand’s future by helping to develop solutions to key issues. Our planners are looking to effectively manage transport, water, economic issues and regional planning. 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 Susan Houston, NZPI chief executive, on 021 555754 or Make Lemonade media specialist Kip Brook on 0275 030188