Wellington Scoop

After 2400 submissions, growth plans for inner city and suburbs to be decided on Thursday

News from Wellington City Council
On Thursday next week, Wellington City Councillors will be asked to agree on a preferred direction for intensification of the city centre and suburban centres to provide for population growth over the next 30 years.

This follows the Planning for Growth city-wide engagement on four growth scenarios, alongside a survey on the Council’s blueprint to become a Zero Carbon Capital by 2050.

In addition, the Regional Council and the City Council will make decisions by the end of June about funding and next steps for the ‘Let’s Get Wellington Moving’ programme of work.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says this is an exciting time for Wellington. “Never before have we had an opportunity of this scale to bring about transformational change. How we grow our city, how we move around our city and how we deal with seismic risk and the causes and impacts of climate change will impact generations to come.”

The City Council expects 50,000 to 80,000 more people to call Wellington home over the next 30 years. With the District Plan up for review in the next two years, the Council’s Urban Development Portfolio Leader Councillor Andy Foster says this is our once in a generation opportunity to get things right.

“The 1372 Planning for Growth submissions are telling us that Wellingtonians have a strong preference for growth primarily in and around existing suburbs and the central city”, he says. “This is to do with keeping the city compact, and managing natural hazard risks, and because people want an efficient transport system that moves more people with fewer cars.

“The submissions also show that Wellingtonians place value on the pre-1930 character areas in the inner suburbs, although many consider that a more refined approach to protecting areas that are really special and allowing for change in other areas would be appropriate.

“There is little support for any new ‘greenfield’ development, because it works against our compact urban form. People have strong views about this leading to more cars on the road and carbon emissions, along with the negative impacts it could have on our natural environment.”

The Planning for Growth and Te Atakura First to Zero engagements attracted over 2400 submissions, giving a clear steer on where and how people think the city should grow.

Of the Planning for Growth submissions, 67 percent said that they agree or strongly agree with scenario two’s suburban focus with some inner city growth as the best balance over all.

Fifty-seven percent preferred scenario one’s inner city focus, with only 24 percent supporting a new suburb in Ohariu, and only 29 percent believing that extensions around Takapu Valley, Horokiwi and Owhiro Bay offered the best balance for the city.

As well as the formal submission process, 250 high school students gave the Suburban Vibe and Inner City options a clear ‘thumbs up’.

Councillor David Lee, who holds the Climate Change Portfolio, says this programme of work is our opportunity to embrace the new, while protecting the things that make us uniquely who we are.

“Wellingtonians clearly value our compact urban form. We love that we can walk from one edge of town to the other, and people have spoken up loud and clear about doing what’s right for our city and the environment.”

The Council’s Chief City Planner David Chick says the response to the Te Atakura – First to Zero blueprint showed overwhelming support for action, with 92% saying the Council need to prioritise becoming zero carbon by 2050, no matter what, and 82% of people saying we need to do it more quickly that 2050.

“Where we enable growth, and how we capitalise on the opportunity presented by Let’s Get Wellington Moving to provide quality transport options, will be key to reducing our carbon emissions and playing our part in keeping our planet in the ‘climate safe’ zone.

“We have been delighted with the level of engagement. People have thought hard about the tradeoffs which we know are challenging.”

Mr Chick says that over coming weeks City Council Officers from across the projects will work with other key stakeholders including Regional Council and Transport Agency staff to progress next steps.

To see the full report go to the City Strategy Committee 20 June meeting information on wcc.govt.nz

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
Original url


  1. Michael Gibson, 14. June 2019, 19:13

    I am still astonished that 55-85 Curtis Street, some thirty sections in Northland, was re-zoned from “Residential” so that it could be converted to “Commercial”. Thank goodness that local residents went to Court and put a brake on this attack on residential land.

  2. TrevorH, 15. June 2019, 7:54

    The “consultation” was not a poll. How many of the submissions were pro forma? Councillors and planners should not think they have been given a mandate here. Any plans should be published before the elections.

  3. Ellen Blake, 15. June 2019, 12:07

    The people have spoken – Wellingtonians want a compact, walkable city with development focused around existing suburban and central areas. Enough talk. Now for the walk – change what we do, to match what we want. [via twitter]

  4. George, 16. June 2019, 9:48

    Any proposal should be put up for public debate prior to the election, a basic tenet of democracy surely. [The 2400 submissions were the result of all Wellingtonians being asked by the council to say what they preferred.]

  5. Andy Foster, 16. June 2019, 10:54

    A few quick responses.
    First is context – Wellington City is growing far more rapidly than in the past, the extra growth being a result of high national net migration. Second is Government in 2016 put in place a National Policy Statement (NPS) on Urban Development Capacity. That requires Councils to show that they have sufficient and realistic capacity for 30 years expected growth – both residential and non residential.

    Michael – yes there is a need for residential capacity. However the Karori – Northland – Wilton catchment is the one part of the city which is heavily underprovided for in terms of non residential land. When we last had this analysed, the underprovision was as high as 50%. Hence rezoning small parcels of land including Curtis Street in this catchment.

    Trevor and George – you are correct, this is not a poll. It was seeking views on 4 scenarios. The feedback is recorded in some depth in this week’s Council papers (128 pages worth – warning the whole collection of papers clocks in at 198MB https://wellington.govt.nz/~/media/your-council/meetings/committees/city-strategy-committee/2019/06/20/cit_20190620_agn_3272_at–open.pdf. There has clearly been a lot of thought in the responses. The process is that officers are reporting back on the public input, and seeking councillors’ approval to develop an option(s) based on a range of issues. These include integration with transport and lower carbon objectives, character protection, resilience, and infrastructure provision. Ellen you are quite right that people endorsed that lower carbon, compact, walkable approach which is consistent with our direction over the last nearly 30 years.

    There will be a lot of work to do to develop those option(s). The aim – purely about workload for staff – is to bring those back for consultation starting November-December. Now before you say ‘why not before the election?’, the process doesn’t stop there. From that feedback we will have a ‘Spatial Plan’ essentially a strategic document describing the look and feel of the city. That’s likely to be mid 2020.

    That then has to be put into effect and the District Plan will need to be completely reviewed. That is a massive task. It’ll begin with a draft non statutory District Plan where an entire document will be put out for public consultation in the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2020. That will allow the rough edges to be knocked off through public feedback. Then finally we get to a statutory District Plan notification in late 2021 or early 2022 – in time for the following election if you like!

    Then we are into the processes set out in the Resource Management Act. There will be ‘original’ submissions, cross submissions (ie submissions supporting or opposing the ‘original’ submissions), and there will be a lengthy series of hearings. The scale of the task means it is likely that the hearings will be split into subject areas – eg residential, centres, heritage, hazards, earthworks, rural, open space etc etc. Finally there is the likelihood of appeals to the Environment Court which have to be worked through.

    The current District Plan took 6 years to get from notification through submissions, hearings and appeals. There were several thousand submissions last time, and they all have the right not to a few minutes but to a proper and full hearing sometimes with expert advisors. It short it is a huge task which will run over several elections. It is also why I am so strong on respecting the results of this immense democratic process when it comes to consideration of resource consents – or dare I say it – imposition of Special Housing Areas.

    I hope that helps and I encourage you to read the report.
    Kind regards
    Andy Foster, Urban Development Leader, Wellington City

  6. Michael Gibson, 16. June 2019, 13:32

    Thank you, Andy. If you had not proposed the motion for your Committee to alter the District Plan in Public-Excluded, I might have heard your reasoning on this before. I think this is a very good reason to be more open about what the Council is doing and I am happy that you are getting the Council to change direction on this.

  7. George, 16. June 2019, 21:28

    How many Wellingtonians even knew the matter of infill housing was up for debate?
    Most home owners will be surprised and shocked when a multi-storey building next door shuts out all their sunlight and privacy. Perhaps a population debate needs to be part of the election discussion ?

  8. Donald T., 17. June 2019, 15:19

    I suppose a ‘no growth’ population plan is out of the question?