Te Kōkiringa Taumata / New Zealand Planning Institute held our 2024 AGM via an online lunchtime session on Wednesday. We were thrilled to see 87 members attend this busy slot, which signals continued strong member interest in the work of the Board.

NZPI Chair Reginald Proffit (Reg) opened the AGM with karakia. He noted that some members had attended the Board update at NZPIC24 and that the 2023 minutes had already been accepted by the Board as part of the Annual Plan auditing requirements. All members should have received a link to the 2023 Annual report as part of the AGM invitation. The 2023 AGM minutes can be found on pages 36 – 39 in the 2023 NZPI Annual Report.

2023 NZPI Annual Report

Reg told members that instead of providing an annual report overview, he was going to do things a bit differently this time. Given that the outgoing Board has reached the end of its term, he wanted to provide a reflection of the last three years. He joked that at each recent AGM he has opened with a comment that the year was busy, and that statement would also apply to 2023. He wanted to capture the hard work of the Board over their term. Key highlights included:

Conference: The Board has wanted to ensure that the keynote speakers at our Conference align with the strategic conversations we are having as an institute and a profession. The Board set up a Conference Subcommittee who have had input to Conference themes and speakers. Reg told members about feedback he’d received on the quality and depth of speakers at Conference.

CPD: The past three years (and covid) have brought a mixed model in terms of the delivery of our CPD programme, with a combination of online and in person events. NZPI has increased the range of courses available and is also offering online lunchtime webinar events that focus on the important strategic issues, including the recent event on Spatial Planning in NZ and Beyond, and ongoing live conversations with members around the Fast Track Consenting Bill.

Communications: The Board identified the need to improve its communications, to have a voice and make a stand. Reg explained that with a communications specialist now on the team he’s seeing a change in our presence. NZPI is getting airtime and a significant increase in requests from the media to provide comment on our position on reform.

Relationships: We have looked at how we leverage relationships in lieu of limited resources to progress our response to the challenges and opportunities facing the profession. The Board and our CEO have been reaching out globally to other institutes. This work has resulted in strengthened relationships with institutes in Australia (PIA), USA (APA), Canada (CIP), the UK (RTPI), and (South Africa (SAPI).

Closing Operational Gaps: This work has included developing membership pathways, reviewing our tertiary accreditation process, thought leadership (including the recently released NZPI Statement on the Future Planning System for New Zealand), the new NZPI Strategic Plan, and the three year work plan, which aligns with budgets and forecasting.

Reg invited Andrea Harris, Co-Chair of the Resource Management Advisory Group (RMAG) to provide an update to members, explaining that RMAG advise NZPI’s policy response and support the Board and our Principal Policy Advisor. Andrea paid special thanks to Think Tank members who are volunteers that provide contributions to questions or challenges put forward. Andrea acknowledged the valuable insights they have provided into submissions and NZPI thought pieces.

Andrea reminded members that 2023 was not only about the NBEA and the SPA but other important engagement in the Government’s wider reform programme. NZPI representatives appeared before two select committees in 2023 and had an opportunity to provide input in government’s climate change work programme. She ended by thanking members for their contribution to NZPI’s surveys, telling members that we are “stronger together” and “couldn’t do it without you”.

Outgoing Board member and NZPI Board Treasurer Jonathan Clease told members that he was going to provide a recap of the financial reporting component of the Board update delivered at NZPIC24. He provided an overview of the finances, with a look back at past expenditure, then at this coming year and going forward.

He explained to members that over the past 7 years, 6 of which he has been a Board member, the Institute has been consistently in surplus, leaving a good buffer of reserves. These are essentially a rainy day fund for unplanned events (such as a global pandemic), special projects outside of business as usual like as a once in a generation RMA reform, and funds for day to day operations.

Jonathan told members that we are in a sound safe position for an institute of our size but our reserves are as big as they need to be. Our purpose is to be here to support and advance the profession. Jonathan explained that this financial position led to a do-more ethos in the Board’s work programme in the 2023 financial year. It also provides the opportunity to budget for more work in the future to deliver more for members and the profession.

Jonathan also explained the Board’s three year work plan and budget (which is a bit like a Council’s). The forward spend will depend on the timetabling of the RM reform rollouts. When compared with the Institute’s position ten years ago, we are now in an exponentially more sound financial position.

Jonathan ended his update by welcoming Jess Bould as the new Treasurer. “I’ve been really lucky to have an engaged membership to support an engaged Board. Both have fostered an environment of free and frank conversation. The incoming Board will build on this foundation and keep cracking on. It’s been a blast”.

Reg then thanked Jono for his service to the Institute and the profession. He also acknowledged and thanked Ben Farrell, Ueligitone Sasagi and Craig Batchelar, who stepped down from the Board at the AGM.

Reg led a Q & A session, responding to questions received prior to, and during the AGM. Questions and responses were recorded in full in the AGM minutes.

This was followed by an introduction to the new Board, starting with the new NZPI Board Chair Andrea Harris, followed by Megan Couture who will take on a second term as Deputy Chair, then Jess Bould, the Board’s new Treasurer who paid thanks to Jono. Introductions continued with Nesh de la Ray, who will continue for a second term, new member Jim Ebenhoh who is originally from the USA and can answer questions about baseball and the NZ Planning system in equal measure, Rebecca Scannell who will continue for a second term, and finally our new Christchurch based member Andrew Henderson who is looking forward to the next three years. Apologies were received from Christina Robertson, who is Auckland based and joins the Board for the next term.  Reg is also returning in the te ao Māori seat.

Reg closed the meeting with a whakatoukī, completing handover to the new NZPI Board and expressing his thanks for the ongoing support from members.

The 2024 AGM was recorded live on zoom and will be available at Planning on Demand next week. The minutes of the 2024 AGM will be available on our website soon.