Wellington Scoop

Plan to develop communities around Waterloo and Porirua transport hubs

News from GWRC
Building thriving urban communities around public transport hubs at Waterloo, Porirua and around the Wellington region has been set as a priority for future work to strengthen Metlink’s network.

Locations were approved yesterday by Greater Wellington’s Transport Committee as possible sites for Metlink’s Transit Oriented Developments, along with the principle that any development creates liveable and sustainable communities by linking housing, transport and social services.

The developments are still being conceptualised, but committee chair Roger Blakeley said Porirua and Waterloo could be the first cabs off the rank.

“The Regional Council has significant land holdings around each station. Space could be created for housing, retail and public services like health and education,” Cr Blakeley said.

Metlink general manager Scott Gallacher said the developments would be done in partnership with territorial authorities and communities.

“This is all about strengthening our communities with sustainable, human centred design and making the Metlink network more accessible.

“These developments can only be undertaken through formal partnerships with councils, government agencies and the private sector.”

Cr Blakeley said Transit Oriented Developments were understood internationally as enabling urban intensification to reduce carbon emissions.

“They mix residential and commercial opportunities to optimise land use for the public good while maximising access to public transport.

“These developments would fit with Greater Wellington’s vision of linking decarbonised communities with a low emissions public transport network.”


  1. J Chris Horne, 27. November 2021, 17:47

    The idea makes good sense for several reasons. It would:
    1. Make access to rail services for the people living in the proposed housing developments most convenient;
    2. Simplify access to rail services by reducing congestion when drivers vie for parking spaces and so will help to reduce the use of cars for commuting, reduce the use of valuable land now used for car parking and thus reduce the production of greenhouse gases from motor vehicles;
    3. Set a fine example of suburban intensification at Porirua and Waterloo.

  2. Tui, 28. November 2021, 11:32

    With development and intensification on the agenda so much recently, I’ve been wondering why there hasn’t been more discussion of the potential of the Porirua CBD to house a large amount of people. It seems to me an ideal candidate as it’s:
    – Adjacent to a major train station, and easy to get into Wellington CBD
    – Already well located for amenities such as supermarkets, shops etc
    – Lots of flat, under-utilised land
    – Close to Titahi Bay and Pauatahanui for recreation

    Does anyone know why there are so many carpark lots and single storey buildings in the area? Surely somebody has at least proposed a development on one of these sites? Walking around the Porirua waterfront, it seems to be mainly industrial and blank walls completely wasting an area that has so much potential.

  3. Claire, 28. November 2021, 13:14

    Thus is a good idea. Why have the WCC not focussed on this instead of zoning through heritage suburbs. Use all the brownfields, especially if you own then. Is the Hutt more sensible? They protect the large amount of lovely cottages in Petone!

  4. Julienz, 28. November 2021, 16:46

    Claire – WCC do not seem to be able to think regionally, they appear to only be interested in cramming in as many people as possible into their artificial boundary. They refuse to countenance development of Ohariu Valley, arguing this is climate-destroying sprawl, while ignoring that subdivisions as far away as Levin are being marketed on the basis that Wellington will be only a one-hour commute via Transmission Gully. It seems a complete failure to look at the bigger picture.

  5. Claire, 28. November 2021, 19:35

    Julienz: I think the council has been hijacked by small lobby groups. They need to work out what saves the most emissions and it’s not building lots of concrete buildings. High co2 in concrete production, then a lot of stored carbon. Wellington is a low carbon city because of our wooden buildings. I notice the transport carbon load options did not include the tall buildings to be erected along a growth corridor.

  6. Andy Mellon, 28. November 2021, 20:36

    Is there a map anywhere of these regional council owned properties around Waterloo Station? I can’t think of many brownfield sites around there, other than the railway station car parks.

    There’s special residential areas around there too. Are they planning on re-zoning those? Or are Wellingtonians just happy to pass their problems on to the satellite cities? NIMBY, but happy it’s in someone else’s?

  7. Jim, 29. November 2021, 12:27

    Andy – you have hit it on the head. As the other commentators have commented, they are happy to develop other suburbs – just not their own. I’m all for the intensification of all suburbs, not just ones in the wider regions that inner city residents think are not as worthy as their own.

    Claire/Julienz – Council haven’t left any suburbs off the plan for intensification. Not sure why this myth keeps being pushed. Ohariu Valley is simply not suitable for mass housing – there is no infrastructure, no roads, no rail, no water, no sewage, no power. It all would need to be built, with major excavations, clearing etc required. Just because other councils allow sprawl doesn’t mean we should. The carbon footprint to expand greenfield development would far exceed the carbon cost of increasing density in the inner suburbs. Low-carbon cities need to be walkable and cycleable. Creating more sprawling suburbs reliant on private vehicles is short-sighted. As hard as it is to accept, things need to change.

  8. julienz, 29. November 2021, 20:03

    Jim, please don’t presume. I consider the government’s proposal of three three-storey houses on any section without resource consent to be a blunt instrument which will probably have adverse unintended consequences. However I have advocated on this site for three storeys to be permitted across the entire outer residential area with appropriate design guides which prevent shading, and I have suggested the council making pre-approved plans with consents attached available for second dwellings on sites in the outer residential zone. I am in favour of gentle densification across the whole city. What I am not in favour of is six-storey apartment blocks along the Johnsonville line without a better transport plan because the existing train service is not, and cannot become, mass rapid transit. I do not seek to impose any kind of development options on suburbs where I do not live and about which I have only passing knowledge. The points you make about Ohariu Valley apply equally to Churton Park and to the other greenfield sites proposed for housing. The sprawling car dependent suburbs are happening. They are in Levin and Upper Hutt. They will create more transport emissions due to their distance away from Wellington, more congestion from the north and they will take away still more high quality soils that provide our food and our overseas income. Ohariu Valley is not a perfect solution but it seems a lesser evil.

  9. Claire, 29. November 2021, 21:22

    Andy: your nimby comment was a bit ridiculous, when all people were saying was that building on council land near rail in Lower Hutt was good.
    Jim: here you are again – have you been paid to talk out of a textbook? My thing is brownfields the least carbon option no destruction and minimal concrete. By the way there will be little built in the inner suburbs because the sections are too small. Out of 22 homes sold lately the average size was only 350m2.

  10. Andy Mellon, 30. November 2021, 10:10

    Claire: My comment was in the broader context of a reasonable proportion of the posting on this site regarding intensification in Wellington, as much as the posts on this thread. Also, I have no idea where these brownfield sites in close proximity to Waterloo are. As a nearby resident and avid walker, there’s some grass verges and the station car park. There’s a few light industrial buildings on Birch Street, a couple of small reserves and some housing New Zealand stock. So I’m confused where this intensification will come without removal and replacement of existing residential areas.

  11. bsmith, 30. November 2021, 11:02

    These areas will be slums, within 20 years. Here’s a thought: a decent rail system, with buses linked to train timetables, when people actually need to use them, ain’t rocket science.

  12. Jim, 30. November 2021, 12:57

    Claire – No textbooks, not paid. Just a different opinion. Brownfield developments are still going to require demolition – rarely are they free of buildings. Sites in Waterloo and Porirua will also need demolition.
    When talking about low carbon, you need to take the life and running of the building into account too. A new building will be more efficient to heat/cool than an older building. Housing 30 people on a site that used to house 2-4 people is more environmentally efficient than housing them in a dozen homes. Reuse, recycling and carbon friendly materials should certainly be encouraged.
    Your point about the small sections is very valid, but the fearmongering about high-rises next door to old villas is ridiculous. As you noted, they are mostly too small to develop, so in most cases won’t be.

  13. Claire, 30. November 2021, 13:54

    Jim: if developers are allowed to build six storeys next to single storey they will attempt it, we have seen it happen. Demolition on brownfields will be less as most are empty carparks etc. Lots of density will not bring the price down and will probably increase it. Housing on brownfields for lower incomes by Kāinga Ora is the way.
    Andy: it’s not a black and white world ie Nimby v Yimby. But all the great ideas about housing in between.

  14. Jim, 1. December 2021, 8:49

    How would increased supply lead to an increase in prices? That doesn’t make sense. We can see from Auckland and Melbourne that rents come down with supply. The biggest cost in the property is the land followed by the cost to build. It’s never going to be cheap but limiting building to only areas you see fit is not the solution.
    It’s simply not true that most “brownfields are empty carparks”. Look at Adelaide, Riddiford and central city sites – 95% of them have buildings on them. Mostly 2-3 level old concrete industrial buildings from the 50s.
    It’s not just low-cost housing for Kāinga Ora that this city needs, but good quality homes for the young professionals who want to live, work and start families here.

  15. Claire, 1. December 2021, 9:46

    Jim: developers want to make money – if they are paying a lot for the land, they are going to push up the price. So a new house in Mt Victoria will match surrounding houses and not be affordable. Also the cost for higher buildings is more. Housing is not as simple as
    supply and demand. Helping low income people should be the first priority.

  16. Jim, 1. December 2021, 15:00

    “Helping low income people should be the first priority” – just as long as they are not built not next door to you?

    Claire – Again, I’m not only talking about housing for low-income people but everyone of all walks of life. There is a shortage of good housing in general. The high value of land is exactly why we need to make better use of it. Replacing one house for one new one in the inner suburbs is going to be reserved for the wealthy – however, if you build 6, 8, 18 homes on that piece of land, the overall cost of land is divided by the amount of homes. This isn’t going to create “affordable” homes in Mt. Victoria etc but will add more housing in general to the market. If they are rented, then that’s more new warm rentals on the market. The notion of providing affordable housing is a very difficult task and should, as you say, be on the government. But that’s no reason to restrict the building of more homes by others.

    These options are still better than building on greenfield sites w/ one house per 500sqm – that type of home which will cost you $1.5M but you’re now in Churton Park and forced to drive everywhere. Our cities need to densify, with good walkability, and cycling and public transport options. Along with the increase in density we need to see the increase in the provision of public green spaces.

  17. Claire, 1. December 2021, 19:56

    K: the unitary plan has enabled thousands of houses for ten years. With no house price drop.