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Head of Planning, WSP New Zealand

Planning’s roots in public health and equality resonate with Rachel and have led to a career focusing on the possibilities that are brought to people’s lives via access to core services. Rachel trained at Massey University and has had a variety of roles across the past 20 years, including the policy department at district council, consultancy, and at a national utility provider. For fifteen years Rachel was based in the UK where she was responsible for securing planning permission and managing environmental assessments for numerous large scale, high-profile projects including High Speed Rail 2, maintaining an efficient power network, over 1GW of renewable energy, and major residential schemes. These projects have confirmed that original appeal for planning and Rachel is a staunch advocate of the benefits that well-planned, strategic projects can bring to our communities. As Head of Planning for WSP New Zealand, Rachel manages a high-performing team delivering engagement, consenting, policy analysis, business cases, hearings, and environmental audits for clients around the motu.


Presenting with Giles Perkins:

30 Minute Rural Community

With a large proportion of our population living in urban areas, we can find that the issues of the moment fixate on uniquely urban problems: the cost of living, the commute, services running over-capacity, and so on, meanwhile ignoring the specific rural issues. The 30 Minute Rural Community takes a strategic view, analysing the requirements of our rural communities against similar principles to the 20-minute city: essentially what we all require for high quality, functioning lives. Applying cutting-edge thinking to the New Zealand context, the 30 Minute Rural Community will test your thinking on how to approach planning for the variety of unique rural areas within Aotearoa and ask questions about how we best serve those special communities in a way that honours their history and enables their future success.