NZPI has developed a Statement on a Future Planning System for New Zealand. The April 2024 version includes minor changes as a result of membership feedback. The Statement sets out our high-level position on reform of the resource management system and will be used as the basis for our engagement with the Government throughout 2024.

Planning is a profession that builds communities, protects environmental bottom lines, enhances economic value, and improves the choices for where and how people live, work and spend their leisure time. It is grounded in the knowledge that people and communities are part of the wider environment, in which everything is interconnected. The overall aim for planning is to see the wellbeing of the community and the environment flourish.

New Zealand society faces a number of threats to the wellbeing of our communities and environment, including climate change, natural disasters, water quality, inadequate infrastructure, insufficient housing, social inequality, loss of biodiversity, and insufficient food production. Planning is a key component of addressing these issues. We need a planning system that enables innovative and creative ways to overcome these issues, rather than acting as a roadblock.

It is important that the planning system accords with Treaty of Waitangi obligations and integrates with te ao Māori. The principles of partnership, participation and protection should be imbedded in the system.

Plans are at the heart of our planning system. These documents should provide strong guidance for decision-making on development and environmental management. They need to provide certainty, of outcomes sought and of process. Plans should be informed by good data, including from monitoring of progress towards outcomes. Timely review of plans to understand what’s working and what’s not is essential.

The wider planning system needs to support the implementation of plans and the outcomes they seek. This wider system includes integrated legislation that works together rather than in isolation, strong leadership from central and local government, the use of incentives and other non-regulatory measures alongside rules and regulations, comprehensive training and support for those working within the system, and robust monitoring and evaluation frameworks.

The legislation that supports the planning system should not be overly complicated. It needs to clearly set out the rights and obligations of all involved. It also needs to provide the mechanisms and tools to enable effective management of development and protection of environmental bottom lines. The legislation should prescribe aspects of process that are essential for upholding the core values and principles of the system, but not be overly prescriptive of other aspects of process. The right balance needs to be struck between fair process and timeliness of decision-making, so that outcomes are enduring.


Please note that the April 2024 version replaces the February 2024 version that we sought member feedback on.