I had the honour of chairing the Board meeting on February 16, which not only opened important discussions for 2024, but marked the end of the current board term with the election of the new Board now underway.

We opened our first meeting for 2024 with our regular standing items, which include prior minutes and motions, open and recently closed actions, and risk. Following this we received a number of reports to close out the financial year and the work programme. These included an update from the RM Advisory Group (RMAG), and Board members Rebecca Scannell, Nesh de la Rey and Ueli Sasagi tabled a paper that has been prepared for our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion workstream.

This was followed by discussions around Board elections and transition, engagement with central government, and other matters. Below is a summary of the Board’s conversations on key items.

Engagement with Central Government

NZPI is continuing to engage with Government on reform and get an understanding of their forward work programme now that the repeal is complete. NZPI has requested (and anticipate) a meeting with relevant Ministers.

NZPI has continued its regular meetings with the MfE and these ongoing conversations have been extremely free and frank. These discussions are an important part of the Board’s work plan, and we are pleased with the level of engagement and the relationships that we’ve built.

2023 Annual Accounts

Jonathan gave a summary of final 2023 unaudited accounts. We are expecting at year end there will be a small operational surplus, although the final accounts are expected to show a small deficit in operational funds. This has largely resulted from investment in policy resources embedded within central government. The final numbers will be included in the annual report, which will be presented at the AGM.

Elections & Transition Planning for New Board

With Board elections closing at the end of the month we had a lengthy discussion around planning for the transition for the new board and how we can set them up for success.

Part of an ongoing review and development of the Board’s governance processes has been to have a draft Code of Conduct ready for the incoming Board to consider. The Board discussed approaches and agreed direction to draft this code. The Board also discussed other matters around the transition to the new board including an update to the Board Manual and a review of the work plan for incoming board.

The board gave their personal thanks and organisation’s appreciation to Ben Farrell, Craig Batchelar, Jonathan Cleese and Ueligitone Sasagi who are not seeking re-election and are stepping down at the end of the month. The Board acknowledged the tremendous work they have done over the past three years, with particular thanks to Johnno who has served as Treasurer for the past two Board terms and to Ben Farrell who, in his capacity as co-chair of the Resource Management Advisory Group (RMAG) has been a very important part of the success of this working group.

The 2024 Board elections close at 5.30pm on the 27th of February and voting is still open to Full members in the Auckland / Northland, Central North Island, and South Island regions. All eligible Full Members from any location can vote for the te ao Māori seat so Full Members in all regions except for Wellington will receive two opportunities to vote. An announcement on the successful candidates will be made on March 1st.

Policy Update

Significant actions in the policy space have been NZPI’s feedback to government on their letter outlining their intentions for a Fast Track Consenting Bill. NZPI is gearing up to engage with government and the Select Committee process when the Bill is introduced in March.

The Board acknowledged the release of the Statement on a Future Planning System for New Zealand and would like to thank the team for their excellent work. This Statement provides insight into the Board’s thinking and is in line with NZPI’s policy positions.

RMAG will be moving at pace this year and members are likely to receive regular communications regarding their engagement with Ministers and Government’s programme for reform. This is likely to include requests for feedback from members. RMAG’s advice responding to new legislation and the select committee process continues to be timely and valuable.

Significant tasks ahead include work on the Role of the Planner position paper and responding to expected changes this year to the National Policy Statement – Freshwater Management.

Conference 2024

The Board are looking forward to coming together to attend the NZPI Conference on 20 – 22 March 2024 in Kirikiriroa Hamilton. The CEO’s report to the Board noted that APA President Angela Brooks and CEO Joel Albizo and will be attending conference in person, with Angela now confirmed as a speaker. PIA President Darren Crombie and CEO Matt Collins will also attend NZPIC24. The Board applaud these strengthening international ties and looking forward to connecting with our friends from APA and PIA.

Due to the timing of annual auditing requirements, the AGM won’t happen as part of the conference programme. Instead, it will be scheduled for late April or early May. The current Board will provide an update at conference and the new Board will transition at the next meeting after conference in six weeks’ time.

I’d like to end this message with a Whakataukī that reflects the generous people who’ve come together for great work to be achieved by the Board and the team at NZPI.

E koekoe te tūī, e ketekete te kākā, e kūkū te kererū

The tūī squawks, the kākā chatters, the kererū coos (it takes all kinds of people)