CKL has signed up as a supporter of Te Kokiringa Taumata l New Zealand Planning Institute. The Supporters programme forges links between the Institute and employers.

This week, we talk to Bevan Houlbrooke (Director) about CKL, the organisation’s history and vision.

Who does CKL work for?

CKL has a wide range of private and public sector clients. We work for everyone from mum and dad type developers to very large corporates and Councils; from farmers and people doing one off subdivisions, to developments of scale. We’re proud of everything we do, every project we’re involved with. There’s always a sense of huge satisfaction when you get consent for a complex project, or when you help navigate the planning process with someone for the first time.

Where are you based and what do you do?

We have four offices: Auckland, Te Awamutu, Tauranga and Hamilton and we have 125 staff. We also have people working entirely remotely for us in Wellington, Whakatane and Gisborne. We’re one of New Zealand’s leading land development consultancies and offer a one stop shop for clients, from planning to surveying and engineering. If it’s not something we offer we’ll bring the right expert in. We’re a solutions-focused organisation.

You’re a planner yourself aren’t you? What do you think of the RM reforms that the Government has initiated?

Yes, I’m a planner. I am hoping that the Enabling Density reforms will be a game changer for housing supply and affordability. I get the reason they’ve been put in place, but these changes have the potential to bring a great deal of change to our communities. If I have a concern, it’s about the lack of control over design outcomes. Up to three units and three storeys will be enabled without need for resource consent. Having said that, I am anticipating that multiple sites will be developed at once, and the developers involved will therefore go through a resource consent process and there will be an opportunity to ensure good design outcomes.

Apart from the RM changes, what do you think are the biggest challenges of the current environment?

The tight labour market. Due to COVID there’s not a great deal of new talent coming in from overseas and a lot of young New Zealanders are now looking to go off on their OE. The planning sector is under a lot a pressure at the moment responding to a buoyant property market and to the RM reforms. Housing affordability and supply chain issues are also a challenge at the moment.

What’s the most important thing to you about your job?

It’s our people and our work with communities and the environment. We have a great bunch of people at CKL. They’re really passionate about what they do, and are friendly and approachable. You see, the roots of the CKL come from three families 33 years ago and we’ve grown significantly from there. Those family values are entrenched in what we do, and are why people keep working for us. It’s great.

You live and work in Hamilton, a major city that’s sometimes passed over by people. What do you like about it? Sell me Hamilton!

It’s a very liveable and green city. It’s compact, yet with a lot of big city amenities. It’s easy to go from the city to outdoor areas for walking, cycling, skiing and surfing, all accessible within a two hour radius. And if you’re heading to Auckland, its an easy drive on the expressway or now by train on Te Huia. I really like the close-knit community here, and the planning challenges that come with a rapidly growing city. There’s a huge opportunity with the river and the centre of the city at the moment, with a really exciting development happening at the southern end of town where the old Hamilton Hotel was; a new world class theatre. I think it’ll be a game changer, it is right on the river, and it will activate other opportunities in the Central City. Hamilton will be a very different city in 10 years’ time that’s for sure.

NZPI Supporter Programme